Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the suspension, on Thursday of AIT and RayPower FM broadcast licence by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Abubakar made his views on the issue known in statement by his Media Adviser, Mr Paul Ibe, on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the suspension of the licenses of the DAAR Group and shutting down of its stations revealed a dangerous dark and anti-media agenda to stifle critical voices in the country.
He said that any situation where the media could not freely criticise the government posed a grave danger to the country’s democracy.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate in the last general elections said that Nigeria would not have a vibrant democratic order where the media were under totalitarian threats from a supposed democratic government.
“If the press is not free, the situation will inevitably lead to dictatorship and endanger Nigerians’ struggles to entrench democracy in the country,” he said.
Abubakar said that it was impossible to love democratic values and hate free press at the same time.
According to him, democracy is not a government of kings or lords who feel superior to the people and not accountable.
He warned that the war against the media was the first stage to turn democracy into full blown dictatorship.
“Dictators want to be worshiped rather than being criticised and held accountable for non-performance or actions. That is why they find democratic order an inconvenience to their sinister desires to kill free speech,” he said.
Abubakar said that if Nigerians did not defend free speech and free press, their own freedoms may be ultimately jeopardised by the government’s intolerance of criticisms.