The All Progressives Congress has berated the National Communications Commission for directing telecoms companies not to run political adverts.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said during a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday that the directive was issued in order to give the Peoples Democratic Party an unfair advantage.
Mohammed said the directive was suspect as it was issued shortly after the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, unveiled the platforms through which Nigerians could make monetary contributions to the campaign of its presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
He noted that Fashola had disclosed that apart from receiving contributions through bank deposits, Nigerians could make donations through SMS, ringtones and scratch cards.
Mohammed, however, said the NCC instructed telecoms service providers not to accept political promotions and adverts so that Buhari would not be able to get enough funds.
He said the directive would not affect the PDP because President Goodluck Jonathan had already been able to raise over N21bn.
He wondered why traditional media like newspapers, televisions and radios would be allowed to carry adverts while the telecoms were being barred.
He said, “The NCC has now written to all the service providers to avoid running political/advertisement promotions that will portray them as being partisan and has threatened to sanction any service provider that will flout this directive. Effectively, the NCC is seeking to block our ability to use the platforms of SMS, ringtones and scratch cards to raise funds.
“By doing so, the same body, a national institution, that is warning telecoms companies against running political/advertisements in order not to be portrayed as partisan has become a tool of crass partisanship! What an irony!!
“It is also necessary to note that no regulatory body has barred the use of the traditional platforms of radio, television and print media from running political advertisements and promotions.
“There can’t be a clearer example of abuse of office. We are extremely concerned by this brazen act of intimidation and regulatory lawlessness towards legitimate businesses providing perfectly legitimate advertisement services, especially when the advertisers have not breached any law or prevented their subscribers from opting out of such services.”
“We are all the more appalled that the NCC seems splendidly oblivious of the fact that the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 does not outlaw advertisements.”
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