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Cold War looms over media houses, as FG agency threatens to revoke 52 licences

…NUJ frowns at NBC over threats.

…Says, “Action ill-timed, reckless.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

There appears to be a growing cold war against media industries in Nigeria, following the threat by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Nigeria to withdraw the licenses of 52 broadcast media stations.

National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), National Headquarters, Chief Chris Isiguzo, has, however, frowned against the move by the Federal Government’s agency, and expressed displeasure over the threats. 

Chief Comrade Isiguzo also described the decision of the Commission to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations across the country over indebtedness as ill-timed and recklessness of the agency.

This assertions were contained in a statement issued and signed by the union’s President and made available to newsmen on Friday Nationwide.

According to him, “The decision today by Industry Regulator, the NBC, to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations nationwide over indebtedness to the Commission was ill-advised.”

Though, the affected stations, according to NBC, are said to be “owing some arrears of licence fees amounting to N2.6 billion since 2015,” the Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, however, cleared the air that the decision to revoke the licences was without any political undertone.

The union, however, stressed that the revocation of licences at this critical time of insecurity in the country appeared to be a decision taken without careful, prior deliberation, consultation or counsel. 

“While attributing inability of the affected broadcast stations to fulfill their obligations to dwindling economic situation and resources, the NUJ President cautioned against such a 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,” the statement added.

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