Nigeria: Radio station restricted for playing song with political lyrics



Radio station in Kano partly banned

Playing a particular song with political lyrics appears to be the reason that the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission imposed a ban on the prime time broadcasting period of a radio station
A “curfew” on the Kano-based private radio station Freedom Radio was issued on 27 March 2006 by the Nigerian government agency regulating broadcasting – the National Broadcasting Commission. It imposed a ban on Freedom Radio’s broadcasting between 5 PM and 10 PM, a ban which will last for two weeks. 

The Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust reports from the capital of the country, Abuja, that a special song with anti-goverment lyrics frequently aired by the station may have triggered the harsh decision by the National Broadcasting Commission to clamp down on the station. The song by a popular Kano musician, advocating against the present Nigerian president, is said to have been presented to the Minister of Information and Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission as evidence of the station’s political position.

At a crowded press conference, the chairman of the board of directors of the radio station, Mouktar Muhammad, said that the National Broadcasting Commission’s actions were politically motivated because the letter suspending the station’s five hour broadcast did not state the station’s offence. Mouktar Muhammad said: “If you stop us from broadcasting between 5 and 10 pm which is our prime time, you have killed us financially. This action is calculated at crippling the radio station.”

The ban could be lifted, though, if the radio station’s executives showed “signs of remorse”, said a spokesperson from the National Broadcasting Commission according to some sources.

About Freedom Radio
Freedom Radio is an FM station operating in 10 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Fufulde, Igala, Kanuri, Igbirra, English, French and Arabic – and covering Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and Bauchi states as well as parts of Niger Republic. It was licenced in mid 2002, and commenced operation on December 1, 2003, and has since then been regarded as the opposition’s answer to the government-owned Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

Content of the letter from NCB
Freedom Radio received a letter from the National Broadcasting Commission entitled “Concern over live phone-in and other political programmes on Freedom Radio”.
The letter accused the radio of professional misconduct and lacking maturity in programming with “guests and callers making unguarded comments that violate the provisions of the NBC code and always tending to overheat the polity”.
“Having been cautioned over these breaches year-in-year-out, the Commission is left with no option but to outrightly ban all the political programmes and live phone-in programmes are hereby suspended indefinitely.”
“Your station shall stop broadcast between 5pm and 10pm every day for at least two weeks, starting from Monday,”
said the statement, dated March 27 2006 and signed by the head of NBC, Silas B. Yisa.

Source: – 30 March 2006:
‘Nigeria: Freedom Radio Sanctioned for Playing Anti-Third Term Music’ – 30 March 2006:

‘Nigeria: ACD Expresses Worry Over Radio Freedom Closure’

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