Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has granted a direct satellite broadcast licence to Kano’s Bayero University, enabling it to set up a TV station and train students in broadcasting.
The news was revealed by NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu when he met the management of the university in his office.
“The commission has a tremendous partnership with the university in the area of broadcast journalism,” Modibbo Kawu said.
Bayero University vice-chancellor Muhammad Bello expressed his gratitude to the management of NBC for the licence, adding: “The institution will use the licence properly in accordance with the rules of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code for the good and betterment of the broadcasting industry as well as the development of Nigeria.
“The university has a community radio station which is presently serving the institution and its environ and the TV licence could not have come at a better time, given the unbundling of mass communication in the institution. The licence will be used for the training of students in investigative journalism and broadcasting and it will also afford the students the opportunity to practice.”
The Federal High Court has nullified the suspension of Daar Communications’ broadcast licence ahead of a court hearing next Thursday.
The suspension imposed on Daar, which owns African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM, was imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) yesterday but has now been lifted by the Federal High Court, led by Justice Inyang Ekwo.
At a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, NBC director-general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu said the reasons for the indefinite suspension included the airing of a presidential election documentary by the AIT, a matter pending before a tribunal, the inability of the company to pay its fees and the use of “divisive and inciting contents from social media.”
Modibbo said: “In their relationship with the NBC, Daar Communications carries on as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the commission. They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due and their broadcast is patently partisan and one-sided and deliberately inciting and heating up the polity.
“The management of the company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.
“Recently, NBC monitoring reports on AIT and Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of Kakaaki, tagged Kakaaki Social, where inciting comments like, ‘Nigeria is cursed,’ ‘We declare independent state of Niger Delta’, ‘Nigeria irritates me’, ‘This country is gradually Islamising’ and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast code.
“Consequently, after several meetings with the management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning, the NBC took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”
Daar Communications had asked the court to order the commission to reverse its ban, claiming that it had not breached any broadcast code.
Justice Ekwo ordered the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and the Attorney General to appear before the court on June 13 to show cause why the motion from Daar Communications should not be granted.
Nigeria’s digital switchover (DSO) is set to reach Enugu and Osun states this month.
The news, which comes weeks after Kwara and Kaduna states made the switchover, was announced at a DSO stakeholders held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, by Mallam Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu, director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Modibbo-Kawu also disclosed that DSO would reach Delta and Gombe states during the first quarter of 2018, and promised that 12 further states would make the transition before the year ends.
Of the challenges posed by DSO, he added: “Coverage is related to topography. Take, as an example, the Federal Capital Territory – it is a city of hills and undulating ground.
“As I am talking to you, the signal distributor for Abuja has purchased feeder pillar transmitters, which will be installed for the entire Abuja and environs to be covered. The same thing applies in Plateau. The signal distributor has to put feeder pillar transmitters in places like Langtang for the entire state to be covered.”
The DSO meeting also saw speakers proffer solutions for such challenges. Olusegun Odebunmi, chairman of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation & Values, addressed the issue of lack of funds.
“The government must give directives for the sale of spectrum and make part of the realised money available to bankroll the process,” Odebunmi said. “The best and the only sure way to raise money is to sell off the nation’s spectrum. The process requires huge investment and, because it is Nigerians that will benefit from it, it is time for government to invest in its people.
“There should also be a plan for compensation for those people who are vacating the spectrum. Money from the spectrum will also be used to subsidise the purchase of set-top boxes for the masses. The government must have the political will to drive the process.”
The NBC has asked states that have made the switchover to consider subsidising set-top boxes for indigenes and old people. So far, DSO has reached Abuja, Jos, Kwara and Kaduna states.
Growing the Nigerian TV industry will help create jobs for the country’s younger generation and deter them from joining militant groups such as Boko Haram, according to the head of the government’s broadcasting regulator.
Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), told Content Nigeria that much of the civil turmoil caused by the Islamist group was perpetrated by young people who felt disconnected due to a lack of employment prospects.
“We have a serious crisis with very young people. Most of the unrest we have in our country – Boko Haram in the north, the militants who break oil pipes in the south – is caused by young people,” he said. “It’s because they don’t have opportunities and they feel alienated.
“Television offers a platform for young people to express creativity.”
Kawu added that Nigeria was in the process of moving from analogue to digital broadcasting, and that the digital revolution would offer a platform for the “development of new content and the creation of jobs in Nigeria.”
“The basic decision for us is that 80% of all content should be local; it has to be to create opportunities for jobs. And when people get opportunities they begin to connect with their country in a more positive frame of mind,” he said.
“Our country is a population of 192 million and 63% of that is under the age of 25, and 75% is under 35. Creating these kinds of pathways will give more and more younger Nigerian content creators the opportunity to reach the world.”
The digitisation of the country is being done in stages but will eventually reach all 36 Nigerian states. Kawu said the internal development would, in turn, showcase the country’s television potential globally.
He said the international recognition of the Nigerian film industry – aka Nollywood – “has provided the wings; now we need to fly.”
“Content from outside the Nigerian territory is part of our sensibility because we’re part of the world,” he said. “Nigerian content is so dominant in Africa, the international companies know the best way to tap into this new generation of Africans [is through Nigeria].
“We’re encouraging younger and more established content producers to create relationships for coproductions and bring stories that tell an international story into Nigeria, and also connect internationally to present the Nigerian story as part of the global human story.”