Fifty four broadcast licences have been revoked.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) revoked the licences because fees were not paid within the mandatory 60-day window.
NBC Director General Is-haq Modibbo, who stated this yesterday added that 120 licences that were paid for but which did not go on air within the mandatory two-year period are soon to be cancelled.
Modibbo, who addressed a news conference in Abuja, gave a deadline of end of this month to stations owing the commission a cumulative amount of N5 billion, to pay up their fees or lose their licences.
He said: “Over the past two weeks, I gave a directive that the licences of 54 companies that were issued licences but had refused to pay their fees within the mandatory 60-day window,be revoked.
“Those licences are revoked. There is another list of over 120 licenses that were paid for within the mandatory period but were unable to come on air, within the mandatory two years; they are also being processed for revocation. And they will be revoked! Frequencies cannot be held indefinitely by individuals.
“At our stakeholders’ conference with broadcast organisations, I informed stations of a persistent pattern of refusal to pay licence 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.
“License 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.”
He warned that cases where some private station owners use political connections with the top most political leadership in the past to get illegal and undue favours that run contrary to the NBC Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code would no longer be condoned.
“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,” he said.
He said June 2017 deadline remained sacrosanct on Digital Switch Over (DSO).
On Digital Switch Over (DSO) launched on December 22, 2016, Kawu said 251, 447 STBs were sold in Abuja.
“In the same period, 145, 357 boxes were activated; our call center received a total of 325, 028 calls in the same period.
“The next phase is our plan for the six states that we have chosen to switch on. As I address you today, Pinnacle Communications Limited has commenced the installation of the facilities for Kaduna. I was there to inspect the work being done at the weekend.
“Our colleagues can go to the site on Rabah Road, in Kaduna to verify that work is advancing very rapidly there. They have also concluded plans for Delta and Gombe states, while the second signal distributor, ITS, will similarly mobilise into Kwara, Enugu and Osun states,” he added.