Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah

The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, says chiefs do not have any legal authority to close down radio stations.

According to him, the purported closure of Kumasi-based Oyerepa FM by the Kumasi Traditional Council is not grounded in law.

Speaking in an interview with Benjamin Akakpo on JoyNewsAM Show on Friday, the MFWA boss condemned the said closure; describing it as ‘worrying development’.

In his view, the closure is also an attack on press freedom and an ‘act of censorship’ which must not be condoned.

“Chiefs will not have the power to say we’re shutting down a radio station. I don’t know where that legal powers will be drawn from. So certainly as I said, it is an exercise of traditional power knowing very well that with that fiat issued, the radio station cannot dare say we will go ahead in defiance of what has been said.

Because the consequences could be dire in terms of potential physical violence that may be visited on them. And so I don’t know where the legal powers for that would be”, he said.

Mr. Braimah’s comments followed an order by the Kumasi Traditional Council on Thursday, directing Oyerepa FM to halt its operations.

The order was based on some comments Akwasi Addai ‘Odike’ made on the network.

Speaking as a guest on the station’s political talk show, ‘Odike’ criticised the traditional chiefs in the Ashanti Region, for for failing to combat illegal mining.

In his submissions, he accused the Chiefs of aiding in galamsey and looking on unconcerned while forests and water bodies are destroyed.

He then threatened to lead the youth to stage a massive demonstration against Manhyia if the galamsey menace continues.

Subsequently, the Kumasi Traditional Council felt slighted by this remarks and declared it to be a form of rebellion against Asanteman; hence Odike was banished from stepping foot at Manhyia.

The Council then went ahead to ask Oyerepa FM to halt operations, for giving Odike the platform to make those remarks.

Checks on Friday morning showed that, the station had been shut down in compliance with the order. General Manager of Oyerepa FM, Sometymer Otuo Acheampong said the station will seek to atone for offending the Council.

The television wing of the media house, however, remains operational.

Meanwhile, ‘Odike’ whose comments triggered the shutdown has revealed that he has gone into hiding. He said he will only apologise if the Traditional Council rolls back its decision to banish him from the Manhyia palace.