The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked the broadcast licences of African Independent Television (AIT), Silverbirds Television, and a host of over 50 other broadcast stations for their indebtedness to the commission.
The stations ramped up debts to the tune of N2.6 billion, the NBC Director-General, Balarabe Ilelah, told journalists in Abuja on Friday
Ilelah announced a 24-hour ultimatum to the stations to go off air.
He also ordered the commission’s state offices to partner with security agencies to enforce the order.
“This is the first batch, there are those who have not renewed their licence since 2015, 2016 and 2017. We are asking them to come and pay their licence fees.”
He explained that in May 2022, the commission published in the national dailies the list of licensees that are indebted to NBC, granted them two weeks to renew their licenses and pay their debts or consider their licenses revoked and frequencies withdrawn.
According to him, “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, the NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the under-listed stations and give them 24 hours to their operations,” he said.
Among the affected stations are those owned by atate governments like Kogi, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Zamfara, Yobe, Kwara, Niger, Gombe, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Rivers
Others are: 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,” he said.