Nigerian government shuts down private television station

The Nigerian government has shut down the country’s first private television station, Africa Independent Television (AIT) and its sister radio station, Ray Power.

The country’s broadcasting watchdog, National Broadcasting Commission, has suspended licences of the private broadcaster accusing it of violating professional ethics.

The television and radio stations have been owned and operated by an opposition politician, Raymond Dokpesi, for more than two decades.

AIT and Ray Power have been fiercely critical of the Nigerian government.

The stations broadcast on satellite but are now off air.

Local activists and opposition politicians have also condemned the closure, calling it “dictatorial” and “an infringement on media freedom”.

But the watchdog says the broadcasters have ignored several warnings in the last two years to stop broadcasting what it calls inciting, divisive and inflammatory content especially on some of their popular political programmes.

It also says they have failed to pay their license fees on time.

The broadcasters denied the allegations saying they were being intimidated.