Zamfara state in north-western Nigeria ordered the closure of five media outlets on Sunday after they covered a political rally by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in violation of the state’s ban on political activity.
The order came after Governor Bela Muhammad, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, on October 13 banned political activities, including gatherings at people’s homes, due to the security situation in the state.
The ban includes campaigning for the February 2023 presidential election, which began across the country last month.
Zamfara State, like much of north-western Nigeria, is battling armed “bandit” groups that have kidnapped thousands of people for ransom, killed hundreds and made many roads impassable.
“The Zamfara State Police Commissionerate has been ordered to ensure full compliance and arrest any person of these media organizations … performing any duties in violation of the closure,” the State Security Council said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The statement names five channels Pride FM Radio Gusau, NTA Gusau, Amji TV Gusau, Gamji TV Gusau and Alumma TV Gusau.
Zamfara’s ban on political activity was accompanied by other measures, including restrictions on movement in some areas and the closure of several roads.
The statement ordered security officials to “deal mercilessly” with anyone who disobeys the orders.