The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has appointed Balarabe Shehu Ilelah as the new director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The move follows the recent dismissal of the former director general of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, by the president. Idachaba was appointed on an acting capacity following the suspension of Modibbo Kawu from the position for alleged financial impropriety in February 2020.
This new appointment was announced by the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Instagram.
Shehu Ilelah is a graduate of Bayero University, Kano and a veteran broadcaster who worked with NTA Bauchi before leaving Nigeria for the then Soviet Union as a journalist. His appointment as NBC director general is for a tenure of five years.
Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered all broadcasters in the country to stop using microblogging platform Twitter.
The move comes after Twitter deleted a Tweet by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, with the social media giant alleging the post broke its rules.
In a statement issued on Instagram, NBC director general Armstrong Idachaba said broadcasters in Nigeria must deactivate their Twitter handles and stop using the platform as a source of user-generated information gathering for news and programmes presentation, especially phone-ins.
“Section 2(1) r of the NBC Act entrusts the commission with responsibility to ensure strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations. Also, Section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code provides that ‘the broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more desirable than crime and anarchy,’” Idachaba said.
“Attention is also drawn to section 5.6.3 of the code, which requires broadcasters to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a user-generated content. Note that it will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronise the suspended Twitter as a source of its information, therefore strict compliance is enjoined.”
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned three major Nigerian broadcasters for using unverifiable video footage from social media to cover the End SARS protests being held in the country.
Fines between N2m (US$5,260) and N3m have been imposed on African Independent Television (AIT), Channels TV and Arise TV.
The End SARS movement is a series of protests against police brutality in Nigeria that is calling for the disbandment of the police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The NBC had warned last week that broadcasters must perform the role of peace agent by adhering to the principles of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality in reporting the protests.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of the NBC, warned that further sanctions would be harsher.
Non-profit legal and advocacy organisation SERAP has condemned the fines imposed by the NBC and is demanding that it withdraw them or face legal action.
A post on the SERAP Twitter page said: “We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV (3m each) over their coverage of the End SARS protest. We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.”
BREAKING: We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
We'll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined radio broadcast station Nigeria Info 99.3FM N5m for using its platform to promote unverifiable views that could incite crime and public disorder.
The move follows the recent increase by the NBC of the hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5m.
According to the NBC, the station broadcast a claim made by a former presidential aspirant, Obadiah Mailafia, that a northern state governor is a commander of terror group Boko Haram.
The NBC said in a statement: “The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the programme Morning Cross Fire, aired on August 10, 2020 between 8.30am and 9.00am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite crime and lead to public disorder.
“The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that broadcasters hold licences in trust for the people. Therefore, no broadcast station should be used to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people. Dr Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the Southern Kaduna Crisis were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”
It added that it hoped the fine will “serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetorics and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims.”
The NBC also said it would not hesitate to suspend the broadcast licences of broadcasters that continue to breach the code.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has instructed broadcasters and licensees to refrain from acquiring foreign sporting rights that will exclude other broadcasters in Nigeria from sub-licensing them.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the NBC, told a press briefing in Abuja that the decision to amend the NBC code is key to repositioning the broadcasting industry and making it more responsive, to protect it from monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior and stimulate advertising revenue, and by extension, the local creative industry.
Acknowledging the mixed reaction to the release of the amendment, he said the commission would take this into consideration.
“Only recently, on March 27, I announced the release of some amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition). The commission wishes to reiterate the fact that the objectives of the amendments are in our national best interest,” he said.
“We currently have a highly rated and hugely talented creative industry in Nigeria, but the fact remains that content producers are unable to harness the benefits of their creative endowment due largely to monopolistic restrictions and anti-competitive behaviour. There is no doubt that the Nigerian broadcasting industry is facing a series of challenges. These include inability for the broadcasters to generate required funds from advertising and programming.
“Local producers of content are no longer able to create content for television. This has led to an influx of foreign production companies, some of them unregistered and unlicensed by the Nigerian government. These companies have taken over the local content production space and, by extension, the advertising and broadcasting space, relegating local entrepreneurs to oblivion. The commission believes in the broadcasting industry but this must be done with a noble philosophy to promote our own national dreams and vision.’’
Commending all those who have contributed to the debate about the amendment, he added that the change to the code will improve investment in Nigeria and benefit media entrepreneurs and audiences.
“We know that broadcasting is dynamic; so are the challenges to regulation. The commission has noted all the concerns and observations, especially on 9.0.1 and 6.2.8. Section 6.2.8, which clearly points that, ‘Exclusivity shall not be allowed for sporting rights in the Nigerian territory and in furtherance thereof, no broadcaster or licensee shall license or acquire foreign sporting rights in such a manner as to exclude persons, broadcasters or licensees in Nigeria from sub-licensing the same.’
“Similarly, on 9.0.1, the point is that a broadcaster or licensee shall immediately after the coming into force of this amendment be prohibited from effecting informal agreements, written and oral agreements, explicit or implicit understandings or implementing concerted practices either exclusively or between market players that have as their object, intent, effect or purpose the restriction of competition, abuse of a dominant position or of substantial market power or create barriers to entry in the broadcast media industry in Nigeria.”
Acting National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) director general Armstrong Idachaba has warned broadcasters against airing content it deems “vulgar, indecent and obscene.”
After recently monitoring the transmission of satellite signals, the NBC discovered that some channels were violating its guidelines.
Idachaba said: “It has, therefore, become expedient to remind all broadcasters or operators and users of satellite broadcasting in Nigeria of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the act, which are the grand laws for broadcasting in Nigeria.
“We wish to request all pay TV channels to observe the rules on decency of broadcast content. Many pay TV channels carry very vulgar, indecent and obscene content. Broadcasters must take cognisance of the code provisions on watershed.
“The commission warns that unclassified, vulgar and obscene musical videos will not be tolerated, and broadcasters must ensure that musical works are suitable for broadcasting before putting them on air.”
Idachaba added that he appreciated broadcasters’ efforts to provide in-depth coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, urging them to continue to offer efficient, professional and comprehensive services based on national objectives and aspirations.
Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has urged operators of newly licensed TV outfits to abide by the nation’s broadcasting codes.
Acting NBC director general Armstrong Idachaba recently met with Trefoil Networks MD Onochie Amasiani, who was representing the management of recently licensed broadcaster OurTv, at the commission.
During the meeting, held to formally inform NBC management about OurTv and present its set-up box, Idachaba said broadcasters must abide by the NBC’s broadcasting code and avoid divisive content. He also thanked the management of OurTv for their commitment to promoting local content.
‘‘We commend you for your continued commitment to the broadcast industry. I am quite sure you have invested your resources, time and energy in promoting broadcasting in Nigeria,” Idachaba said.
“We are glad that part of what you are putting up is largely indigenous. I take cognisance of the fact you are already creating jobs for the Nigerian youth.
‘‘Be sure that whatever content you carry promote the image of Nigeria, its culture and conditions. You must bring Nigerians together; you must not bring hate or divisiveness. We hope you become good ambassadors representing us at international hub. When you do that, I can assure you that the current management of NBC, and even in the future, will give you all the support you require.”
Amasiani, meanwhile, pledged to partner with the commission to fulfil OurTv’s corporate social responsibilities.
He said: “OurTv is an expression of local content. OurTv was fully integrated in Nigeria by Nigerians [and is] transmitted on the Nigerian satellite Nigcomsat1R, received by set-top boxes made in Nigeria and managed by a Nigerian company.
“We are here to present the baby that NBC licensed to us a couple of years back and to inform the commission that it is alive and kicking and healthy and ready to go.
“We are the pioneer users of NigComSat because we believe in Nigeria and are confident that this has come to stay. The local content and progress made so far has reinforced our belief that this is the way to go.”
Nigeria’s digital switchover (DSO) was the key topic on the first day of broadcaster FreeTV’s three-day online digital series event. Priscillia Alao reports.
The event kicked off on Wednesday with Inview Technology CEO Olumade Adesemowo anchoring a panel focusing on DSO and the future of Nigerian content. Speaking on the panel were Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC); stand-up comedian and actor Ali Baba; Film Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) chairman Emeka Aduah; and 9Mobile marketing director Olayiwola Onafowokan.
Idachaba provided a report on the current status of the DSO, detailing some of the challenges of transitioning more than 30 million Nigerian households from analogue to digital and looking to the future.
“The DSO project is important to the future of the media industry in Nigeria,” he said, explaining that as well as improving picture and sound quality, the switch will result in more channels for creative-minded people to realise their potential.
So far, DSO has been rolled out in Jos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ilorin and Osogbo, as well as Enugu, where the switch has been carried out but not completed across the entire state.
Referring to his fellow panellist, Idachaba continued: “With the bank of content Ali Baba has been able to produce over the years, I wonder why he is not running comedy channels. This is the time to engage content producers, and regulators are ready to create that platform for them.
“Some of us don’t fully understand the potential inherent in the digital transition process and we also don’t realise that the entire value chain will be driven by the content we produce. As regulators, it is time to create the right regulatory framework that will allow creatives to have an entry point.”
Idachaba added that Inview’s partnership with the Bank of Industry meant there would be support for companies involved in licence acquisition and the production and distribution of content.
“At the NBC, there is a renewed commitment to delivering on the DSO project. The vehicles for delivering content are the signal distributors who are willing to commit their resources to the roll-out,” he said.
The next places to get the switch will be Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano, Idachaba said, noting that the NBC was also working on partnerships with other corporations.
“We are confident that once the lockdown is off, we will regenerate activities around the DSO,” he added, referring to the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Ali Baba discussed the impact the DSO could have on the entertainment industry when fully implemented.
While there has long been a lack of platforms for comedians in Nigeria, Ali Baba predicted that the DSO will lead to a proliferation of opportunities. “DSO is a welcome idea because there are lots of talents who just need the right platform,” he said.
“We are ready and, although platforms had been denied us because we had to pay for airtime, we now have free-to-air options.”
Aduah, whose association has been involved in Nollywood production and distribution since the days of VHS and through to VCD and DVD, outlined what the DSO would mean for the FVPMAN.
“The challenges holding down the distribution of VCD in the market is in the area of piracy, which has not been dealt with. But we are doing our best to curb it to allow VCD/DVD to sell. Everything has transitioned into digital and it is in our best interests to ensure the DSO comes to [fruition].
“When [DSO is completed] in Kano and Lagos, we are looking at the NBC to facilitate the launch so content owners can smile to the bank, because DVD is not selling as expected. This is a digital era – with the DSO, we will be able to make more sales through the use of dongles. We hope we will be able to witness the switchover so we can continue in business.”
Aduah said the NBC had work to do in order to address challenges in the distribution of content, noting: “TV stations play more foreign content than local content.”
Elsewhere during the discussion, 9Mobile’s Onafowokan talked about the importance of TV firms working with telecoms companies in the digital landscape. “Digital TV provides new features for viewers that analogue does not have, but all these depend on collaborations with telecom industries,” he said.
As part of aims to achieve the NCC’s target of 70% broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2025, around N265bn has been invested in infrastructure, with the government investing N65bn and the private sector contributing the rest, Onafowokan said.
“At 9Mobile, we give access, flexibility and mobility to clients so they can enjoy services the OTT players bring on board,” he continued. “We are empowering content owners by ensuring content is fresh and relevant; we have not ramped up our involvement in terms of collaborating with content owners and production houses, but we are providing infrastructure to ensure content is consumed.”
The session concluded with Idachaba highlighting more positives of the DSO. “We are beginning to explore the reality of tech convergence, and the key functionality of the set-top boxes will be affordable, simple, highly functional internet access for more engagements and an additional source for content dissemination,” he said.
Idachaba added that the DSO would create more opportunities for creative people thanks to the set-top boxes featuring technology that will monitor what is being watched, making it easier to identify programming priorities, fill in gaps involving the structure of content production and facilitate inter-creative exchange.
“We are hoping the Nigerian creative industry will cash in on the advantages of the ecosystem, because we believe the future of terrestrial and OTT is strong,” he said.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned all broadcast stations against airing programmes about the Covid-19 pandemic that have no verifiable claims.
The NBC has observed a spike in the spread of fake news and misinformation, which is harming the fight against the virus, and has said it would not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on any channels that carries unverifiable claims.
The NBC highlighted sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which states that the broadcaster must ensure every programme is accurate and credible; descriptions, claims, testimonials or illustrations in an advertisement relating to verifiable facts should be easily be substantiated; and that the broadcaster must ensure an advertisement is not broadcast if it contains an offer to diagnose or treat conditions by myth or superstitious beliefs and practice.
According to the NBC: “The coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic and no station shall allow its platform to be used to undermine the seriousness of the virus, and all broadcast stations are responsible for all contents that they transmit.”
Ekanem Antia, assistant director of public affairs, said: “In compliance with the directives of the commission for pay TV to decrypt the signals of local channels on their platforms for one month, in the first instance, to enable viewers get adequate information and directives during the Covid-19 pandemic, free TV has announced unrestricted access for customers during the lockdown.”
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture, said: “If you go by WhatsApp, there are so many myths and cures for Covid-19 today. Some people will tell you it cannot affect Africans or the disease is not even existing at all, while some will say all you need to do is to take garlic or ginger.
“As we speak today, there is no vaccine or medicine for Covid-19. The only weapon to combat the virus is what we call non-pharmaceutical intervention, which largely means sensitisation, advocacy, keeping very good hygiene, social distancing, not shaking hands and not gathering.
“These are the only effective ways to contain the pandemic and that is why governments are declaring total lockdowns. Once it starts spreading, no healthcare in the world can survive it.”
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed pay TV operators to allow viewers to watch local channels via their platforms even after their subscriptions expired.
This directive is aimed at enabling viewers to watch daily updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
“The National Broadcasting Commission calls on all pay subscription broadcasters in Nigeria to decrypt all local channels on their bouquet to enable subscribers to their services in Nigeria access, without hindrances, daily reports and directives on the coronavirus pandemic,” said the NBC.
“The decryption is to last for one month, in the first instance. Further directives on this shall be issued by the commission after detailed assessments of subsequent development.”
The NBC has also mandated broadcasters in the country to dedicate 10% of their daily airtime to informing the public on the pandemic.
“The commission commends broadcasters that have remained steadfast and displayed professionalism this period,” the NBC added.
Referring to its earlier request that broadcast stations ensure timely basic information and updates on Covid-19, the NBC noted that broadcast stations across the country have been providing detailed reporting to educate the public on the global crisis.
Armstrong Augustine Idachaba has been appointed acting director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) by the federal government following the suspension of Is’haq Modibbo Kawu.
Idachaba joined the NBC as an assistant chief research/monitoring officer in November 1994. He was later promoted to zonal director of the then Umuahia zone, covering Uyo, Abuja, and Lagos, before becoming director, broadcast monitoring, at the NBC headquarters.
He was most recently director, broadcast policy and research.
Idachaba has previously worked as a features writer for the Nigerian Voice Newspaper and as an artist and presenter for NTA Makurdi. In addition, he has published several books on media, digital technology, theatre, and broadcast regulation.
Idachaba will continue to contribute to the commission’s monitoring and research activities.
The National Broadcasting Commission has revealed that the process of switching off Nigeria’s analogue broadcast signal will begin in Abuja next year, followed by Enugu, Kaduna, Jos, Osogbo and Ilorin.
Announcing the news at the recent general assembly of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria in Lagos, NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibo Kawu said the Nigerian government would release a full timeline for the digital switchover (DSO).
The government is aiming to ensure that a digital signal reaches at least 95% of the population. Information and culture minister Alhaji Lai Muhammed said: “With the DSO, the new broadcasting code will mainly focus on the protection of the creative property of content producers.”
Meanwhile, Godfrey Ohunbunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, expressed concern over the slow pace of Nigeria’s digital transition. “Regulation and funding are crucial to the success of the DSO and, without firm regulation, there would be no clarity of purpose for the DSO,” he added.
New regulations have been promised by Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, to safeguard online broadcasters in the country.
He made the announcement at the inauguration of the seven-member National Broadcasting Commission Reform Implementation Committee in Abuja.
The reforms were recommended by a committee Mohammed had set up at the direction of president Muhammadu Buhari as a result of the unprofessional conduct of some broadcast stations.
The committee, which has been given six weeks to submit its report, is chaired by the director of broadcast monitoring at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba, while the chief press secretary at the ministry of information and culture, Joe Mutah, will serve as secretary.
Other members are Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); Joseph Ehicheoya, director of legal services at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; Binta Bello, secretary general of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; and Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, a member of the NBC board.
The approved recommendations include an increase in fines for breaches relating to hate speech from N500,000 to N5m and the reclassification of divisive comments to Class A offences in the broadcasting code, plus the amendment of the NBC act to enable the NBC to license web TV and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria.
The terms of reference of the implementation committee are: “To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the National Assembly.
“To work out the modalities for competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.
“To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment to the board of the NBC.”
Mohammed added: “I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator.”
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned it will sanction television stations that violate the nation’s broadcasting code.
NBC chairman Ikra Bilbis and director-general Modibbo Kawu made the announcement during the commission’s fifth annual lecture series, held in Abuja.
Kawu said: “The duty of regulating broadcasting becomes ever more challenging as the number of stations being licensed to operate increases by the day.The NBC has to keep up with the growing number of licences, amongst whom are those who believe they should not be regulated, or who regularly air content that leaves much to be desired from the perspective of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”
According to Bilbis, the commission is focusing on a number of initiatives to ensure broadcasting in Nigeria is on a par with the rest of the world.
“We must again ponder at the power of the broadcast media which can affect people’s thinking and behaviour for good or evil. Such a medium with monumental influence on society cannot be unregulated. As you are all aware, the NBC was established some 27 years ago. Its primary mandate was to initiate and promote private ownership of broadcasting in Nigeria, after close to 60 years of government sole ownership of the industry,” he added.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said that he would ensure the broadcast industry and information sector moves to the next level of prosperity.
“Let me reiterate that president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has great respect for the media and still continues to work with them as partners,” he said. “In recent times, our information space has been flooded with content that tests the unity and peace of the country. This content circulates within the social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platforms.
“Some of this content, which is mostly unverifiable, finds ways into the mainstream media in the form of fake news. I will enjoin the broadcast media to constructively make use of social media content with a great sense of patriotism for peace and unity in Nigeria.”
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.
Charges have been filed against the director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and three others by Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Those charged include NBC chief Is’haq Kawu Modibbo as well as Dipo Onifade, Lucky Omonuwa and Pinnacle Communications. The charges relate to alleged irregularities in the award of a N2.5bn (US$6.9m) digital switchover (DSO) contract.
The suspects are to face trial on a 12-count charge before a federal high court in Abuja, although there is no date for their arraignment yet. The charges were filed by ICPC officials Henry Emore and Adenekan Shogunle on January 14.
According to the charges, Modibbo approved a payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle, owned by Omonuwa, as seed grant under the DSO plan of the federal government of Nigeria, even though he was allegedly aware the company was not entitled to the grant.
This is an offence and is punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Act 2000.
However, Modibbo and Pinnacle deny the allegations levelled against them, stating that the ICPC has no knowledge of the entire process of the contract award.
The Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) is set to reopen this week after it was shut down by Nigeria’s broadcast regulator the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) last summer.
The service was taken off the air on July 15, 2018 after it made an unauthorised announcement about the results of the previous day’s state governorship election.
The directive was issued by state governor Kayode Fayemi in a statement. It read: “The re-opening is sequel to the submission of a report by the panel set up by the state government to look into the remote and immediate causes of the closure as well as Governor Fayemi’s intervention.
“Following the governor’s engagement with the NBC leadership, the regulatory body agreed to an instalmental payment of the fines slammed on the station.
“Consequently, the governor approved the January 1, 2019 commencement date and directed that all arrangements for the re-opening be concluded within the next week.”
“While appreciating NBC management, under the leadership of Isha’q Modibbo Kawu, for its understanding, Governor Fayemi said the government would put necessary structures in place to ensure that BSES is henceforth run professionally.”
US talent show format The Sing-Off is set to be adapted in Nigeria after Montage Media Group acquired rights to the property from Sony Pictures Television (SPT).
The Sing-Off is an ‘a capella’ singing contest aired on NBC in the US between 2009 and 2014. It offers a platform for vocal groups to compete and showcase their skills with a chance to win a recording contract.
Bamidele Adetunji, CEO of Montage Media Group, said: “We are pleased to be in partnership with one of the biggest names in global media and entertainment business.
“As a responsible corporate, we are determined to bring the best of the world into the Sub-Saharan African market through our various content, production and technology collaborations to ensure the growth of the media and entertainment landscape, particularly in Nigeria; the nation that hosted the first television infrastructure in Africa.
“Talents and their discovery isn’t the problem in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, but the issue is what becomes of them after they’ve been discovered. Through this relationship, we want to nurture discovered talents and provide them with a global platform to thrive in an increasingly competitive media and entertainment landscape.”
John Rossiter, exec VP of distribution and networks, CEEMA at SPT, said: “We can’t wait to bring action-packed series The Sing-Off to African audiences and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Montage to deliver many more exciting projects in the future.”
The Sing-Off began airing in the US, where it ran for five seasons on NBC, produced by SPT, Outlaw Productions and UA Media Group. It garnered nearly 10 million viewers before being adapted in countries such as China, France, the Netherlands and South Africa. It is produced and internationally distributed by SPT.
Montage Media Group is a media consultancy and investment company with a focus on delivering quality services in the pay TV, mobile TV and content acquisition and production.