Matawalle orders reopening of shut media houses, tenders apologies

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has ordered the immediate reopening of some media houses the government had shut down on Saturday for allegedly covering the political activities of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dauda Lawal-Dare.

According to RIPPLES Nigeria, the governor also tendered apologies to the affected media houses which include the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Gamji TV, Gamji FM, Al-umma TV, and Pride FM.

The state government had, while ordering the closure of the media outfits in a statement by the Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Dosara, alleged that the media organisations had “violated its Executive Order 10 and abused journalism practice.”

But following a backlash by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Nigerian Union of Joyrnalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), the International Press Institute (IPI), and other concerned Nigerians condemning the government’s action and calling for the immediate reversal of the order, the Governor, on Monday, ordered the immediate reversal of his orders.

Matawalle who reversed his orders at a press conference in Gusau, the state capital, said the media outfits were free to resume duties but warned that they should adhere to the orders banning political rallies in the state.

Represented by the Chairman of the Zamfara State Committee on Prosecution of Banditry and Related Offences, Abdullahi Shinkafi, the Governor also tendered an apology to the media outfits.

In a statement, Shinkafi said the government was angered by the alleged violation of the “Order 10 which came into effect on October 13, banning all forms of political rallies and meetings in the state due to security concerns, including the suspension of all political activities and the shutdown of Anka, Bukuyum and Gummi local government areas’ roads and other affected towns and villages.”

The statement also claimed that the media outlets had violated the order by covering the “illegal political activity of the PDP governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal-Dare, in Gusau.”

“The illegal political gathering led to a security breach by some youths of the two political parties. The police had confirmed that one man was shot dead and 18 others injured during the event,” Shinkafi said.

According to him, the government has since withdrawn the order given to the police commissioner to arrest and prosecute the media outlets’ personnel and has apologised to the media houses.

“The Zamfara government has withdrawn security forces deployed to the media outlets to allow their staff to resume work and urged them to respect the state laws and support the government in its effort to tackle bandits and kidnappers.”

Abdullahi Sanni

Abdullahi Sanni is a senior news reporter at SHO PEN ONLINE. He is a passionate writer with core interest in Politics, sports and economy reports. Abdullahi who studied mass communication at Kwara state polytechnic in Ilorin, is the 1st of six in his family. He's a multimedia journalist who has traveled far and wide in the course of his journalism career.

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