Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the fined of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, he asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

The former vice president disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.

Atiku stressed that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, adding that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.

He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

The former vice president also called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, saying the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech