A socio-political group in Rivers State which identified itself as Rivers Peoples Forum, RPF, has accused the African Independent Television, AIT, and the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, of working for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the state governor, Nyesom Wike.
Basing its claim on the stations’ refusal to air a documentary packaged by the group to reveal the true situation of things which Wike is accusing his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, of, RPF lamented that,“This is not only a danger to free speech in Nigeria, but a real threat to the practice of democracy in the country.”
A statement issued by RPF’s Director of Communications, Charles Bekwele, reads: “A few weeks ago, AIT showed many times a TV documentary, produced by the Integrity Group, a known ally and agent of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike. The documentary was a direct attack on the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The documentary was sponsored by Wike to rubbish Amaechi’s image, tarnished his good name and wrongly but deviously portray Amaechi as corrupt with the primary aim of stopping Amaechi to be part of President Buhari’s Change Team. Facts were distorted, outright lies were told in the documentary, just to paint Amaechi as corrupt. And AIT gleefully showed this documentary, many times without talking to Amaechi or making any attempt to hear Amaechi’s side.
“RPF did its own 27-minute documentary, stating the facts of the matter and AIT got this on September 25. The documentary clearly pointed out the many lies of Wike against Amaechi, in the Wike-sponsored documentary that was shown many times on AIT. The RPF documentary also showed with facts, that Wike runs a government of deceit; and his one-point agenda is to fight his predecessor and former benefactor, Amaechi. Most revealing in the RPF documentary were scenes from the public hearing of Wike’s ‘shambolic’ Commission of Inquiry to investigate Amaechi that clearly shows the panel was set up just to indict Amaechi of corruption.
“Without notifying RPF, AIT took the documentary to Nyesom Wike. With the TV documentary in his hand, Wike approached a Port Harcourt High Court to stop AIT and a couple of other TV stations in Nigeria from showing the documentary that exposed Wike’s government of fraud and deceit; and his war against Rotimi Amaechi. This is the same AIT that showed many times, Wike’s anti-Amaechi documentary in spite of the many protestations by Amaechi, APC and many Nigerians.
“On the other hand, we still can’t understand why NTA has refused to show the documentary, despite the fact that it is not part of any court processes instituted by Wike and has not been restrained by any court. After making assurances to show the documentary and giving us a time that it would be shown, NTA suspiciously stopped the showing of the documentary a few minutes to the scheduled showing. Efforts to get NTA top management staff to show the documentary or give us a valid reason why a public broadcaster like NTA would stop it has been abortive. Is NTA now being used by Nyesom Wike to kill free speech and kill fair hearing? Why is NTA not showing it?
“Although this cannot be confirmed now, we reliably gathered that money must have exchanged hands involving some people to ensure that the documentary is not shown on any TV station. A source also told us in NTA that the strategy is to get a kangaroo court order restraining NTA from showing it, so the plot now is for NTA to buy time for Nyesom Wike.
“We want to state clearly that this operation ‘kill the RPF documentary’ will not work as we are determined to let Nigerians know and see the truth about Wike’s shenanigans in Rivers State and his vendetta war against Rotimi Amaechi.
“AIT is notorious for showing devious, defamatory television documentaries against APC leaders in Nigeria. It would be recalled that before the general elections, the same AIT showed documentaries replete with lies and distorted facts against APC Presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and APC leader Bola Tinubu. These documentaries were widely condemned by Nigerians.”