The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, a rights group based in Anambra has condemned unreservedly the reported fire outbreak at the Radio section of the African Independent Television (AIT) in Lagos State, which was reported on Monday, 9th March 2015.
The group said that just weeks ago, luxury buses worth hundreds of millions of naira belonging to Chisco Transport Company Limited were set on fire in the same Lagos State for bearing advertisements of President Goodluck Jonathan.
It said, “ The immediate and remote causes of the two infernos are strongly believed to be politically motivated. In the case of inferno at the CHISCO Bus Station, it was reportedly linked to political thugs belonging to one of the Nigeria’s registered political parties called APC.
“Report has it that the Bus Station was indirectly attacked and destructively affected. The report further disclosed that the thugs on their party’s campaign rally sighted a Federal Office block with campaign banners of President Goodluck Jonathan and pelted the said Federal building with inflammable substances, which ignited and spread to the next property being the CHISCO Bus Station leading to fire outbreak that burnt the buses irreparably.”
It said that till date, they are not aware of any investigative and prosecutorial step taken by the country’s security agencies against remote and immediate culprits.
“In the case of the AIT Radio premises, the inferno deeply looks politically and ill conceived. This is because there has been a deep rift between a former top public office holder in Lagos State and the management of AIT over the latter’s airing of a documentary alleging ownership and acquisition of properties worth billions of naira illicitly by the former.”
The group called on Nigerian politicians and political parties to eschew politics of bitterness and intolerance while plying their trade.
“We wish to put the World Press Council and the international community on notice and alert over the foregoing. It may most likely be safe to assert that the AIT, its staff and management are in the imminent danger of persecution, threats and other politically motivated unsafe conditions. By extension, the Freedom of Press is under threat in Nigeria.”
They called on the Presidency and security agencies in Nigeria to thoroughly investigate the two infernos under reference, apprehend the culprits and their sponsors and make them pay in accordance with the country’s criminal law. Maximum security and surveillance they said should be put in place in and around the AIT and other properties of specific social, economic and political interests in Lagos till the polls of 2015 come and go.