THE Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, has described the demolition of Yinka Ayefele’s ‘Music House’ as worrisome, adding that it does not speak well of the Oyo State government.
‘Music House’ is the head office of Fresh FM, a radio station also owned by Ayefele, a Yoruba gospel musician.
Kawu said this while addressing journalists in Ilorin, Kwara State, stressing that the government ought to have taken into consideration the fact that the radio station employs many citizens of the state, as well as provides informative, educative, and entertainment services to residents of the state and beyond.
“The development is worrisome because for all it is worth, the broadcast outfits are playing a big role in reducing unemployment, especially in this situation where many young Nigerians are idle. They also play social, informational, educational and entertaining roles in the society,” Kawu said.
“Such development does not speak well of the government and has a negative effect on the nation, especially at a point when more broadcasting outfits are influencing the social space in the country.”
The NBC boss said the commission will seek for ways to remedy the situation. He recalled that there had been a similar incident in Nasarawa State, where the government demolished a radio station, Breeze FM, on the premise that the building was against the state’s urban laws.
“What we did was to meet our licensee to find out what the issues were because he was prepared to go to court. We also met with the state commissioner for information and the governor. The issue also was that the building violated the usage of urban space,” Kawu said.
“We were able to reach an agreement that the government should give the broadcaster a new plot of land and assist him to go back to building a new station. However, just last week, I got a letter that the side of the government in the agreement had not been fulfilled.”
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had justified the demolition of the ‘Music House’, insisting that the building contravened the laws of the state, and one cannot be allowed to get away with illegality just because one has a disability, or has employed people in one’s firm.
“About the house they said we demolished, that man apparently did not uphold the law,” Ajimobi told BBC Yoruba service.
“People say he should be pitied because he is lame. Does that mean a person is free to violate the law if he is handicapped? They also say he has employed people, but do thieves also not employ others? Shall we say because they have employees, thieves are at liberty to steal?”
The ‘Music House’ was demolished at about 4 am on Sunday, August 19, in spite of a subsisting court directive restraining the state government from going ahead with the exercise pending the determination of the case.