Contrary to news making the rounds on several online news portals, alleging that operatives of the Department of State Security on Friday sealed a private Nigerian TV station, CORE TV, in an attempt to silence the media, DAILY POST has exclusively gathered that the presence of the heavily armed policemen seen moving out the station’s equipment had nothing to do with media clampdown.
The security operatives stormed the station premises early hours of Friday to enforce an order emanating from the FCT High Court concerning the ownership of the station’s premises.
Our Correspondent reports that about 35 heavily-armed policemen and patrol vehicles were on guard around the premises of the broadcast house as hired labourers were busy moving the station’s property out of the building located at 34, Sokode Crescent, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, fueling suspicion of a clampdown.
A staff of the station who pleaded not to be mentioned, told DAILY POST that the order may have to do with the tussle for the ownership rights to the premises and not with the professional conduct of the station.
He said that there had been a lingering court case regarding the property since 2004, and that may have predicated the clampdown.
Running with that lead, the correspondent sought to obtain a copy of the court order.
One of the security operative, who showed DAILY POST the court order, said they had no business with the operations of the station but were merely carrying out instructions to recover the station premises.
According to the court order titled: “Warrant for Recovery of Premise” with number. FCT/HC/W/219/96, Gazi Constructions Ltd, who leased the property to the Core TV station was asked to, within 24 hours, cede the property to Bill Construction (Nig) Ltd.
Meanwhile, the managing director of the station, Mr. Olajide Adeniran, said the operatives shut down the station and barricaded the area around 4:00 a.m without prior notice of wrongdoing.
He also questioned the legality of carrying out an order of the court at night.
“This takes us entirely by surprise. They never formally notified us of any wrongdoing, But even if there’s a court order restraining our operations on premises, why should it be in the middle of the night that they will enforce it and why should they carry our systems and files?” he said.
He, however, exonerated the station from any form of illegality, saying that the media house had no axe to grind with the law.