Africa Independent Television (AIT) has debunked claims by Garba Shehu, media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, that the station maltreated his boss during the 2015 electioneering campaigns.
AIT’s owners, DAAR Communications, made this position known on Wednesday, noting that it could not scuttle democracy that it struggled to re-establish in Nigeria.
In a statement, the media house noted that: “Our attention has been drawn to the statement credited to Mallam Garba Shehu at the Red Summit Media Event that was held on Thursday Oct 15, 2015, claiming that there was maltreatment of the Presidential Campaigns of the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) by both NTA and our Television Station – Africa Independent Television (AIT) during the 2015 Presidential Campaigns.
“Much as we had resolved to maintain a dignified silence on this matter, in the interest of our collective civic duty and responsibility to our dear Country, the broadcast sector that we have played a pioneering role in since our debut into the sector, the entrenchment of independent broadcasting and the several cum selfless patriotic roles that we have diligently and repeatedly undertaken for and on behalf of the good people of Nigeria which amongst others is the protection of the democracy that we are all enjoying since the return of the country to democratic governance, we are compelled to address these claims.
“As a broadcast Organisation, we have much more at stake than any politician and administration whose tenure, by our laws, is time/term based while our role, duty and responsibility is by the grace of God; timeless!
“With the foregoing, it is pertinent to respond to Mallam Garba Shehu’s claims.
“On the allegation of maltreatment through the rejection and denial of political campaign space on our Station, we wish to state categorically and emphatically that at no time did we reject or deny the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) broadcast space on our Station – Africa Independent Television (AIT). It has always been our policy to open up the democratic space to all the broad spectrum of actors in the political horizon.
“For the benefit of discerning members of the public and political academics who will obviously document some facts for historical purposes and the stock of public information compendium, we hereby challenge Mallam Garba Shehu to: State the names of the Officer(s)/Department(s) that he dealt with wherein the materials that he wanted aired were outrightly rejected. The Officer(s) that returned the monies for the commercials that he claimed were rejected.”
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