The Federal Government has revoked licenses of 54 companies issued radio/television licenses but failed to pay their fees within 60-day stipulated window.
Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who disclosed this at a press conference, in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that 120 other licenses that met the 60-day mandatory window but were not put to use for two years after payment were also being processed for revocation.
‘’Frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals. We are delighted that Nigerians are investing in setting up radio and television stations; they create jobs; open up accesses for content producers to showcase talents and are contributing to national development. But no one has a right to hold on to allocated frequencies, indefinitely, when the resource itself is finite and there are other people waiting and ready to make use of those frequencies’’, Kawu noted.
Kawu also said NBC will shut down radio and television stations which have refused to pay outstanding licence debts of about N5 billion.
“At our stakeholders’ conference with broadcast organisations, I had informed stations of a persistent pattern of refusal to pay license fees. Stations around Nigeria owe the NBC over N5 billion. Even the statutory act of informing NBC, six months before expiration of licenses and signification of intention to continue as licensees is willfully ignored by stations.
“While every licensee is aware that every licence issued by NBC is provisional and could be withdrawn at any point, stations carry on as if they own those licences and can do as they pretty well please.
“Licence fees are in arrears; there is no plan by many of these stations to pay; while some even have the temerity to write NBC, the regulatory institution, that the amount they are obliged to pay is too much; consequently, they then tell us how much they are willing to pay, and even adding the time they are going to pay such sums that they have decided to pay.
“In truth, a pattern of gross indiscipline and misbehavior has been central to the relationship which many of the licensees had established in the past with the NBC.
“There are those who used political connections with the topmost political leadership of Nigeria in the past, to get illegal and undue favours that run contrary to the NBC Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. That is the only way they have operated and it is the way they know. But, this is a new era, at the NBC, and in Nigeria.
“Let me reiterate that all outstanding sums owed the NBC would be collected! We gave a time line of March 15, 2017, for all stations owing outstanding license fees to effect payment…”