By Enyichukwu Enemanna
At least 52 broadcast stations have been sanctioned by Nigeria’s regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over outstanding levies amounting to the sum of N2.6 billion dating back since 2015.
The sanction entails revocation of the operational licences of the affected station, a decision that could send major stations off air in 24 hours, including the first private broadcast organisation in Nigeria, the Africa Independent Television and its sister radio station, Raypower FM.
At a press in Abuja on Friday, the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, said there was no political undertone in revoking the license of the debtor-broadcast stations.
The agency under the supervision of Nigeria’s federal ministry of information has come under heavy criticism for imposing sanctions on broadcast stations deemed to be critical of the government’s inability to curtail the alarming insecurity in the country.
Weeks ago, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture had imposed fines on Trust TV for airing a documentary it says praises Boko Haram terrorists that has in the past decades killed thousands of locals, displacing millions of others with the country’s North East most affected.
Mallam Ilelah threatened a total disconnection of the affected stations of they do not offset outstanding levies in 24 hours.
“The Commission also call on all IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and all other broadcast stations that are streaming online to register with the Commission to avoid disconnection.
“Broadcasters should note that having a DTT or FM license does not warrant a broadcaster to stream online; they are two different licenses,” he noted.
He accused the stations of not showing concern three months after their names were published as payment defaulters, a development he says is in contravention of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly Section 10(a) of the third schedule of the Act.
He therefore insists that the continued operation of the debtor-stations is illegal and constitutes a what he called “threat to national security.”
“Therefore, after due consideration, the NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the under-listed stations and gives them 24 hours to shut down their operations. Our offices nationwide are hereby directed to collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance,” Mallam Ilelah said.
Other affected stations are Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd), Greetings FM (Greetings Media Ltd), Tao FM (Ovidi Communications Ltd), Zuma FM (Zuma FM Ltd), Crowther FM (Crowther Communications Ltd), WE FM (Kings Broadcasting Ltd), Linksman International ltd, Bomay Broadcasting Services Itd, MITV (Murhi International Group Ltd), Classic FM (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd), Classic FM (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd), Classic TV (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd), Beat FM (Megalectrics LTD), Cooper Communications Itd, Splash FM (West Midlands Ltd), Rock City FM (Boot Communications Itd), Family FM (Kalaks Investments Nig. Ltd), Space FM (Creazioni Nig. Ltd), Radio Jeremi (Radio Jeremi ltd), Wave FM (South Atlantic Media Itd), Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation, Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation, Niger State Broadcasting Corporation, Breeze FM (Bays Water ltd),Vibes FM (Vibes Communication ltd) and Family Love FM (Multimesh Broadcasting Co. ltd).
The rest are Gombe State Broadcasting Corporation, Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation, Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, Ondo State Broadcasting Corporation, Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation, Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation, Imo State Broadcasting Corporation, Anambra State Broadcasting Corporation, Borno State Broadcasting Corporation, Yobe State Broadcasting Corporation, Sokoto State Broadcasting Corporation, Zamfara State Broadcasting Corporation, Kebbi State Broadcasting Corporation, Jigawa State Broadcasting Corporation, Kaduna State Broadcasting Corporation, and Katsina State Broadcasting Corporation.