President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the issuance of operating licences to 213 new public and private broadcasting outfits in the country.
The Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt at the opening of the 71st General Assembly of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
Giving the breakdown, Modibbo-Kawu said that the president approved 147 new FM radio licences; 23 DTT Television licences, three new national radio network licences and two national television licences.
He said the commission had also received presidential approval for 16 campus radio stations; 24 community broadcasters and three public organisations FM licences.
The Director-General said that the total of 213 licences were the single largest number of stations ever licensed at any point in Nigerian broadcasting history.
He reiterated the importance of BON as the umbrella body for all the broadcasting outfits in the country.
“Our industry is opening up and the importance of broadcasting will become greater as a contributor to the economic fortunes.
“It is also a platform of molding the values of national development,” he said.
The NBC boss raised concern over the spiking of hate and dangerous speech, that was freely broadcast on leading television networks.
He said the NBC commissioned a major study of Hate and Dangerous Speech in Nigerian broadcasting, using the 2015 general elections as a case study.
“The Validation Report from that study has been presented in Kano; Enugu and Sokoto.
“We will similarly present the report very soon in Lagos and at a big national gathering of broadcasters and other national institutions in Abuja.
“The NBC has also gathered a lot of experience from elections in Anambra; Ekiti and Osun states,” he said.
Modibbo Kawu cautioned that as the country entered the season of heightened political activities, en route the 2019 general elections, NBC would not hesitate to sanction erring stations.
Our correspondent reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) had alleged infraction in the payment running to N2.5 billion.
He, however said with the fund, Pinnacle Communications had installed some of the best transmission systems in the world for the DSO, in Kaduna and Abuja.
“We are launching very soon a Push Video-on-Demand pilot project in Abuja and Kaduna.
“This would offer opportunity to watch Nigerian films with our Set Top Boxes.
“It will also assist the process of eliminating the menace of piracy.
“I feel a disappointment, that most of you have not rallied in defence of the investment done and the quality of broadcasting, as well as the entire DSO process, that the false reports were targeted at undermining,” he said.
The DG reminded BON members of their licensing fees obligations to the NBC.
He said many broadcasting organisations had refused to pay, as and when due.
“Many of you canvass the unacceptable argument about the economic situation in the country.
“But licence fees are statutory, and those who do not pay should not be on air! It is as simple as that!
“That is the iron logic of capitalist economics.
“I will like to remind all those who are owing the NBC these statutory licence fees, that we would visit you very soon, before you collect the huge sums from the political parties.
You would either pay us or you would be shut down and so would unable to collect money for political broadcasts!,” he said.
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike who declared the event opened said that BON had great role to play in the 2019 general elections, adding that prompt and accurate report of events would aid the process.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, the governor said the state had provided friendly environment for broadcasting and investors in the sector.
He disclosed that out of hitherto 250 existing broadcasting outfits, 25 were located in the state.
RSG Restates Readiness To Empower Farmers, Fishermen
The Rivers State Government has urged all farmers and fishermen in the state to gather whatever produce they have to their respective local government chairmen at the centres designated by their chairmen for immediate purchase.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, stated this shortly after the inaugural meeting of the Committee to Purchase Food Stuffs from Farmers and Fishermen for Distribution to the Rivers State people at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
According to Danagogo, who is the chairman of the committee, the essence is to make sure that our farmers and fishermen are empowered and encouraged to continue to produce what they are producing and to stockpile enough food stuff to enable us win the war against COVID-19 and looming starvation.
Danagogo, who disclosed that his committee has started work immediately, said all the local government chairmen are expected to go back to their LGAs to start the process of engaging the farmers and fishermen to sensitize them to bring their products for purchase and onward distribution to the citizens and residents of the state.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said the initiative of Governor Nyesom Wike was primarily designed to ensure that nobody complains of hunger during this trying period.
He pleaded with the farmers and fishermen, who would be approached at the various local government areas that this was a time for sacrifice and selfless service and not a time for racketeering and hoarding of produce, stressing that the state government would pay for all the products produce by the farmers and fishermen.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol said farmers and fishermen in the state should redouble their efforts to produce more, noting that agriculture remains a major policy thrust of the present administration in the state.
Buhari’s Subsidy Regime, Monumental Fraud -PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the fuel subsidy regime under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration as a monumental fraud and an unpardonable scam against the Nigerian state.
The party stated this, yesterday, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondoyan, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
This is even as the party counselled officials of APC-led government to “stop lying to Nigerians and tell the truth of how trillions of naira, claimed to have been paid as a subsidy, was cornered by APC leaders and members of the cabal in the Buhari Presidency.”
The PDP also described last Monday’s declaration by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, that there will be no more subsidy and under-recovery as dramatic.
The statement read in part: “Our party notes that if the Federal Government is running away from its subsidy policy, the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Buhari or his Minister of State, Timipre Sylva, should muster the courage to announce this to Nigerians through a policy statement.
“Our party holds that this sudden announcement of an end to fuel subsidy and commencement of a deregulation regime of the oil sector is a desperate step by the Buhari administration to stave off an investigation into the siphoning of trillions of naira by APC leaders using phoney subsidy claims.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note how President Buhari set the stage for unprecedented subsidy looting under his regime.
“It would be recalled that in his bid to smear the PDP, President Buhari, while leading the agitation against the decision by the PDP administration to deregulate the oil sector in 2012, declared that fuel subsidy does not exist. He had called the subsidy regime and its operators a fraud.
“Rather than riding on this declaration on the assumption of office, the Buhari Presidency provided official cover for the cabal and APC leaders to use his ascendancy to power to engage in underhand dealings, plunder our nation’s subsidy resources, pillaged trillions of naira from the oil cashbox, only to now turn around to announce an end to a subsidy, seeing that there is nothing left to steal with the current international price crash.”
While chiding President Buhari for alleged lack of openness in the handling of petroleum subsidy since he assumed power in 2015; the PDP said nothing but an alleged scam on the part of APC leaders was responsible for the first citizen’s inability to speak up on the issue.
“We ask, could this be the reason behind Mr. President’s inability to make any concrete statement on the exposed subsidy scam under his administration in the last five years?
“Could it also be the reason the oil subsidy, which Nigerians where enjoying under the PDP, was adjudged a fraud but suddenly ceased to be a fraud from 2015 till Monday, even when Nigerians no longer enjoyed any benefit from the payout within this period?
“Nigerians now know the reason the APC administration had refused to allow for an independent inquest into the alleged N1.4trillion oil subsidy sleaze through which certain APC leaders were benefiting from alleged N58 hidden toll per litre which Nigerians were forced to bear for years after fuel price was increased by the APC administration from PDP’s subsidized cost of N87 to N145 per litre.
“It is now clear to all why the APC administration had resorted to muddling up oil revenue transactions, refused to open up on federation equity of crude while frustrating free flow of information on product exchange and revenue remittances, and why they have been promoting reports on imaginary pipeline losses as well as other opaque and non-transparent transaction in a sector that is directly under the supervision of Mr. President.
“This is in addition to the over N14trillion stolen through various shady oil subsidy contracts, including the stolen N9trillion detailed by the leaked NNPC memo and the N1.1trillion worth of crude stolen with 18 unregistered vessels linked to APC interests, all of which the Buhari Presidency had refused to investigate despite demands by Nigerians.
“The PDP, therefore, insists that the decision of the APC-led administration to embrace subsidy now that oil price had crashed cannot foreclose the irretrievable demand for a forensic audit of all the fraudulent under-recoveries, through which funds meant for subsidy was diverted to private pockets of APC leaders.
“The PDP is also demanding a forensic audit of over-bloated 60 million litres of petrol that NNPC claimed it was importing under its former GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to justify the fraudulent subsidy payout.
“The PDP urges the National Assembly to stand on the side of Nigerians, expose all those involved, who got what in this huge scam against our nation as well as take steps to recover the over N14trillion stolen by the cabal and certain APC leaders and channel same for the welfare of Nigerians especially at this critical time.”
COVID-19: RSG Distributes Foodstuffs To Vulnerable People
In order to cushion the effect of the stay-at-home directive to Rivers people to check the spread of coronavirus, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, commenced the distribution of foodstuffs to the downtrodden.
The Rivers State COVID-19 Palliative Committee set up by the governor, yesterday, distributed foodstuffs to the Home of the Elderly, Port Harcourt Children Home, Port Harcourt Remand Home and Cheshire Home.
Chairman of the Committee, Amb Desmond Akawor while speaking at some of the homes visited said that the distribution has nothing to do with politics.
He stated that all sections of the state would be reached.
He said “As you can see the members of the committee, we have the clergy men, security agencies and civil servants. These are people who will not want to associate themselves with the politics of the day.
“It is not in anyway to be political. Hunger does not know political parties. So, these materials are going to our people and whatever we do with God on our side we will ensure it gets to the targeted population.”
Inmates and managers of the homes that received the COVID-19 Palliatives of the Rivers State Government thanked Wike for remembering them at this point..
Matron, Port Harcourt Children Home, Mrs Gift Eke, thanked the government for remembering the children in the home at this trying time, and prayed for more wisdom for the governor.
The Matron, Cheshire Home, Mrs Stella Gbobo, appreciated the governor, and prayed that God should bless Rivers State Government and most, especially the governor who is in charge of the mandate for remembering the physical challenged.
Also speaking, the Matron, Home of the Elderly, Rev Sister MaryJane Raphael, appreciated the governor and his team, prayed God to give them gracious old age.
Mr. Omubo Gillis Harry, Warden, Port Harcourt Remand Home lauded the Rivers State Government for taking care of the less privileged.
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