Directors of a newly approved radio station, Salama Radio, have criticized the Daily Trust Newspaper for what they termed wrongful representation following the granting of a licence to them by the immediate past administration.
In a publication dated June 22, the newspaper had published a report titled ‘Jonathan Awarded 72 Radio Stations in Last-Minute Allocation.’
According to a statement signed on behalf of directors of Salama Radio and Media Limited by two of its directors, Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure of the Throneroom Ministry, Kafanchan, Kaduna State, and Dr. John N. Akanya, former Director-General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the duo said the newspaper’s publication was not only totally misleading but mischievous.
‘While we cannot speak for other companies that also got licenses or their motives, we must however say that singling out Salama Radio and Media Limited, and allotting three paragraphs in the news report to our company, could not in any way be coincidental, but rather deliberately designed to prejudice the Nigerian public against the good name of Salama Radio and Media by creating a false image of our company even before the commencement of operation,’ said Apostle Kure.
Kure further discountenanced the religious tag labelled the organisation. ‘The accusation that our media outfit is a religious-based station is false. We are a registered limited liability company and the idea of setting up Salama Radio and Media Limited was conceived in 2008 while late President Umaru Yar’adua was in office; and after going through the registration process it was incorporated on 28th July 2010, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with Registration No. RC902643. The fact that we have an ordained clergy among us doesn’t mutate it into a religious station… Nonetheless, there is no law preventing a religious leader from associating with others in any legitimate business in Nigeria.’
According to the clergy, the paper further erred by portraying the timing of the issuance of the license as being questionable. He explained that Salama Radio and Media Ltd applied for the Application Form for a license on 22nd September 2010, in a letter signed by a Director of the company, late Air Vice Marshal Samuel A. Odesola (rtd) and the completed application form was submitted to the NBC in 24th February, 2011, and signed by another Director of the company, Dr. John Ndanusa Akanya and was duly acknowledged by the NBC.
‘We are confident in the fact that on the grounds of our application, we could have acquired the license under any president irrespective of his ethnicity, religious background or political association,’ he added.
Kure further faulted the claim that the promoters are prominent Christians from the north. ‘We do not understand what the authors of the article seek to achieve by the statement. Are they calling on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revoke a license to a company simply because the directors of the company are of the same religious persuasion? Or are they trying to provoke a debate to the effect that the approval given by a President who is a Christian should be withdrawn by a Muslim President? Companies are formed by people who trust each other and who have a common interest irrespective of ethnicity and religion. We demand that these seasoned business men, administrators, professionals and statesmen who have served our nation in various respectable positions should not be reduced to ethnic or religious champions as every Nigerian is entitled to freedom of worship as enshrined in the Constitution.’
Kure also queried the rationale behind the religious tag of ‘prominent Northern Christians’ given to the directors, naming only those from North and excluding the other directors who hail from elsewhere.’
‘We are also curious to ask why Daily Trust exempts the Yorubas and Ibos on the Board of Directors of Salama Radio from mention and concentrated on the “prominent Northern Christians. Can the paper also go ahead to list the names of directors of other Kaduna-based radio stations and their religious inclinations for Nigerians to know?’ asks Apostle Kure.
In further clarifying, Dr. Akanya added that the motive of setting up the radio station is to foster peace and unity as well as work towards the positive re-orientation and improvement of the lives of people of Southern Kaduna, and called on people in authority to ignore the inflammatory report:
‘The names mentioned as Directors of the company have track records of ensuring peace and the successful upliftment of the lives of the people and projects they had executed in the past. Let it be known that pure patriotic and progressive sentiment is what is behind Salama Radio and that its Board cut across Nigeria as against what the report insinuated, and they are all patriots and progressives-minded individuals. We do not want this wrong kind of publicity even when we have not started broadcasting…The Board still believes that a society that can keep the tenets that make nations great can still evolve in our time. It is not about religion. It is about healing societies and diverting energies to creativity and a greater Nigeria,’ added Akanya.
The statement further urged ‘Northern fathers, progressive elements and former progressive governors of Kaduna State, who believe in our unity’ to intervene by helping to put a stop to such ‘incendiary propaganda’, and ‘allow Southern Kaduna seek its healing and enjoy what other societies enjoy without the stress of interest groups always reading conspiracy meanings to it and using that to always deprive her of what should come to her.
‘We once again reassure all who care for the truth that it is not a religious radio. The taste of the pudding will convince all when it starts transmitting. One fact though that we must admit is that it will maintain a strong moral fibre in its programs,’ said Dr. Akanya.
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