Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned 60 broadcast stations for flouting its Code on hate speech and incitement of the public; during the 2019 general election.
This was as the Commission disclosed it is owed N4.2 billion by some radio and television stations . The debt arose from fines and fees .
NBC Director General, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, disclosed this in a session with newsmen in Abuja where he also said that neither are the organisations ready to play by the rules, as spelt out by the Commission, nor are they ready to show the desire to pay the debts; despite reminders.
Kawu lamented that the debts owed by licensees meant that less fund is available to the NBC to pursue its programmes. He said in spite of paucity of funds, the Digital Switch Over (DSO), the flagship project of the agency, is moving on at a steady pace.
He said the programme flagged off in Jos, Plateau State in 2016 and has since been launched in Abuja while efforts are in top gear to take it to other cities across the country.
“The important thing about the Jos pilot is that it offered us an experience of what exactly that we will be doing in the DSO.
“The choice of Jos was just deliberate. Jos has been at the centre of television development in Nigeria. It is reputed to be the first place to have colour television in Nigeria. It was chosen because there has been that tradition on the Plateau. There used to be just PRTV and NTA Jos. What we then did was to offer the people 15 channels on national television and with a lot of value added in the proposition Now, it allowed NBC and our SetUp Box manufacturers and our signals distributors to understand how to put all these things together beyond the scenarios we are creating.
“We also had challenges some time in June. We had outage for a few days.”
Kawu added that, “again, it was part of the process of learning how to do it. So of course we then went to other locations namely Illorin, Enugu, Oshogbo and Kaduna.
“The issue is that if you look at the achievement we’ve made on the DSO, so far, we have done switchover between April 2016 and February 2018 in the six locations.”