The proprietor of Daar Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, has
stated that Monday’s decision by the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari,
to bar one of its subsidiaries, Africa Independent Television, from
covering his activities was an attempt by the former military Head of
State to bring back the era of Decree 4, according to an interview he
granted Premium Times.
Mr. Dokpesi said Mr. Buhari lacks the power to stop the AIT from
covering his activities, as doing so would amount to breaking the law.
“I am sure that the President-elect needs to be reminded of Decree
4, and he should be clearly reminded that section 32 of the constitution
makes it mandatory for the media to hold public officials accountable
to the people,” he said.
He also said Section 39 of the constitution equally grants Nigerians the freedom of expression and to hold opinion.
“There are three national networks available for national coverage
in Nigeria, the NTA, AIT and Silverbirds. You cannot stop a foremost
private station from reporting in Nigeria, it brings us back to Decree 4
Mr. Dokpesi also acknowledged that Mr. Buhari may have taken his
decision based on the documentaries ran by the station during the
He said Daar Communications is a commercial entity and therefore
reserves the right to run anything it considers worthy of being
televised. He said there is also a right of response available to anyone
who feels strongly about any matter broadcast by the station.
“If they had produced their own documentary to say this is what we
want and AIT did not publish it, then that is another matter,” he said.
“What is obviously very clear is the fact that AIT believes that the
historical information about the President elect that were ran, were
factually correct. Nothing was done to defame him or impinge on his
character or integrity.”
Mr. Dokpesi also added that another documentary about one of the
national leaders of APC, Bola Tinubu were also factually correct.
The media proprietor said although the documentaries were produced
outside of Daar communications, “We take responsibility for the running
of these items and I as an individual is satisfied because due diligence
was followed in ensuring that the things that are contained were