Repair Ayefele's FM Building Or Face Legal Action, Group Tells Ajimobi
A rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has issued a 7-day ultimatum to Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, to rebuild the demolished Fresh FM building or face legal action.
The group wants the Governor to “immediately halt all further eviction and demolition of Fresh FM building" and begin repairs, and to show full respect for the safety and dignity of residents and owner of Fresh FM".
SERAP is also asking Governor Ajimobi to adequately compensate the radio station and its owner and publicly guarantee non-repetition.
The organisation urged Ajimobi to “ensure full and effective respect for the rights to freedom of expression and media freedom in Oyo State.''
It says it will take national and international legal actions to compel the Oyo State government to act in the public interest and the overall interest of the rule of law.
The 7-day ultimatum was contained in a letter dated 21 August, 2018, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale.
It read: “We have information to suggest that the destruction of Fresh FM was based on political considerations and retaliation against the radio station on purported allegations of defamation against you.
"The facts suggest that the demolition of Fresh FM building failed to comply with the principle of lawfulness and reasonableness.
"The demolition was neither done in the public interest nor carried out to achieve a legitimate aim.
“This apparently unlawful action has set a bad precedent, and created a high level of uncertainty and anxiety among many radio stations and other media organisations in Oyo State about the future because of the likelihood of their buildings being demolished when they are deemed to broadcast views which the Oyo State authorities may consider too critical or ‘defamatory’.
“By going ahead to demolish the Fresh FM building despite being served with the court papers in the case filed by the station, you implicitly obstructed access of the radio station and their owners to appropriate forms of legal protection, contrary to the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party and which is legally binding on the government of Oyo State".
SERAP expressed concerns that the Oyo State authorities carried out the demolition of Fresh FM building with wilful disregard for the dignity, health, and safety of residents and the owner, who is a person with disabilities.
"The demolition of the radio station has now exposed residents to the elements and the public to the risk of complete collapse of the building," it added.
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