By Linda Ike
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBS) has revoked the licenses of 52 broadcast stations over N2.6 billion indebtedness to the commission since 2015.
Director- General of the NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah who made the announcement on Friday while briefing the media in Abuja also ordered the shut down of the stations.
The debtor stations are African Independent Television, Silver Bird Television, Raypower Fm.
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 Ltd, 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.
He said there was no political motives in revoking the license of the debtor-broadcast stations, urging the stations to pay their fees before 24 hours to avert total disconnection.
Recalled that in May 2022, Ilelah said the NBC published in the National Dailies, the list of licensees that are indebted to the Commission, and granted them two weeks to renew their licenses and pay their debts or consider their licenses revoked, frequencies withdrawn and the withdrawn frequencies reassigned to others who are ready to abide by the necessary requirements.
He explained that three months after the publication, some licensees were yet to pay their outstanding debts, 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.
The Director General disclosed that the NBS and broadcast stations have been in talks for over a year, stating that they have refused to revert
He noted that in view of this, the continued operation of the debtor-stations is illegal and constitutes a 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,” he stated.
Ilelah urged all broadcast stations who are yet to renewed their licenses for the current duration to do so within the next 30 days to avoid sanctions.
“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.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has condemned the decision of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations across the country.
National President of NUJ, Mr. Chris Isiguzo in a statement said the decision was hasty and ill timed.
He said the revoking of licenses at this critical time of insecurity in the country is a decision taking without careful prior deliberation, consultation or counsel.
NUJ regretted the inability of these broadcast stations to fulfill their obligations to NBC, in-view of dwindling resources, and cautioned against such large scale clampdown of broadcast stations in disregard to security issues and the attendant consequence.
“We cannot afford the unpleasant outcome of such media blackout at this time.
“We call on NBC to exercise more restraint on this issue in consideration of national security and allow for more dialogue and consultation to find a better way of dealing with the situation” he advised.