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Licence Revocation: Niger, Cross River Stations Shut Down

Licence Revocation: Niger, Cross River Stations Shut Down

Following the expiration of the deadline issued by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revoke and shut down the operations of 53 broadcast stations in the country for failing to renew their licences, LEADERSHIP Friday has gathered that Niger and Cross River States have shut down their stations.

This followed the inability of the two states to clear their debts with the NBC LEADERSHIP Friday gathered from the management of the Niger State Broadcasting Corporation popularly called ‘Radio Niger” that they took the decision to avoid the wrath of the commission.

A management staff said they decided to be off air to show respect to the commission as they strive to offset the debt. Already the commission has written directly to the state government demanding the payment of N89 million including that of the booster stations.

It was gathered that arrangements are on for the state to comply within the week as the payment is being processed.

In Cross River State, the state-owned radio and television stations have shut down operations following its Inability to renew their licences.  The stations were shut down on Wednesday. The workers were seen idling away yesterday at the premises of the organisations.

A senior staff of the CRBC who spoke in anonymity with LEADERSHIP Friday in Calabar, said, “We have to close down our station to avoid NBC’s sledgehammer.

The general manager of CRBC Mr. Moritz Inok declined comments, saying that the matter was before his boss (the state governor).

A junior worker who claimed to be an artist and On Air Personality (OAP) in the corporation (name withheld) appealed to the management of the corporation to do the needful so that they can return to work. However, most of the affected stations have started paying their debts.

When contacted, the management of most indebted private and state-owned media houses told LEADERSHIP Friday that they had cleared the backlog of their license fees, while others said they were processing their payments.

The management of NBC did not update the public on compliance. Efforts to get reactions from the commission last night did not yield results.

According to the director-general of the NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, the debt for which their licenses were revoked was between 2015 to 2021.

And 24 hours after issuing the deadline, NBC in a statement said the commission had extended the deadline to today, Wednesday, August 24, which has elapsed.

In Kaduna State, the chief executive officer of KSMC, Ibrahim Ismaila Ahmed disclosed that the corporation has settled her bills of N14 million for the year 2021 and 2022 being payment for five radio stations and two television stations.

Meanwhile, he said, it was unfair for the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to have included KSMC among the debtors penciled down for licence revocation.

The MD/CEO said, “Well, we have paid, it’s just for two years that we are owing, for 2021 and 2022 which I felt it was uncharitable of NBC to have even included KSMC as part of the debtors because as I speak, I don’t think NBC has settled its electricity bills with power holding company. Also, LEADERSHIP gathered from a reliable source that Silverbird TV Network has paid its N30 million debt to NBC.

In Edo State, affected stations in Benin which include Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communication Ltd) Benin, We FM (Kings Broadcasting Ltd) FM Benin, and Vibes FM (Vibes Communication Ltd) Benin, said they have paid their debt.

Investigation revealed that both Jay FM and Silver bird Rythm 93.7 were on air in Jos yesterday. Efforts to confirm whether the two radio stations had paid or were still negotiating with NBC were unsuccessful.

In Adamawa State, the affected stations were on air yesterday. The state chairman, Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria Mr Shehu Sa’ad, said all the stations were on air in the state.

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