Fresh facts have emerged on the reasons why the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) withdrew the broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, and Rhythm FM amongst others on Friday.
This is due to an alleged failure of the stations to renew their broadcast licences with a debt amounting to at least ₦2.6bn.
Director General Mallam Balarabe Ilelah, who disclosed this on Friday, directed its state offices to liaise with security agencies to ensure the shut down of the operation of these stations within the next 24 hours.
Earlier in 2019, NBC withdrew the licences of the African Independent Television and Ray Power FM belonging to Daar Communications Limited over airing a Presidential election documentary by the AIT.
However, in Friday’s case, the DG noted the withdrawal was because the stations owe a total of ₦2.6bn; adding that some of the stations affected have not renewed their licences since 2015.
Also, Balarabe directed NBC offices nationwide to collaborate with the security agencies to ensure immediate compliance, explaining that in May 2022, the commission published in the national dailies, the list of licensees that are indebted to NBC, and granted them two weeks to renew their licenses and pay their debts or consider their licenses revoked, and frequencies withdrawn.
“Three months after the publication, some licensees are yet to pay their outstanding debts, in contravention of the NBC Act CAP N11, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly section 10 (a) of the third schedule of the Act.
“In view of this development, the continued operation of the debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security. Therefore, after due consideration, NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the under-listed stations and give them 24 hours to shut down their operations,” he said.
The D-G said that the other stations affected were Zuma FM, Suleja, Niger State; Bomay Broadcasting Service Ltd., and Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Gombe, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Rivers States Broadcasting Corporations and Stations.
He listed other stations to include Katsina Broadcasting Corporation, Kaduna State Broadcasting Corporation, Jigawa Broadcasting Corporation, Kebbi State Broadcasting Corporation, Zamfara State Broadcasting Corporation and Yobe State Broadcasting Corporation.
Similarly, Ilelah said Imo State Broadcasting Corporation, Anambra State Broadcasting Corporation, Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation, Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation, Borno State Broadcasting Corporation, and Crowther FM Abuja were among the affected stations.
He urged all broadcast stations who have not renewed their licenses for the current duration to do so within the next 30 days to avoid sanctions. He also called on all 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 doesn’t warrant a broadcaster to stream online; they are two different licenses,” Ilelah added.