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House committee on information meets NBC, charts way forward for commission


Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

Last week, the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values met with members of the board and management of the National Broadcasting Commission in Ibadan.

The meeting, which held on January 22 and 23, 2020, was to brief committee members what the commission’s mandate is, as well as the conception, implementation, benefits and challenges of the Digital Switchover (DSO) in Nigeria, including other past and present endeavours of the commission, which are aimed at lifting the broadcast industry in Nigeria.

In his opening address, the committee chairman, Honourable Odebunmi Olusegun Dokun, pointed out that it is imperative for the commission to take advantage of the current harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislature to ensure that they are adequately carried along on the broader scope of the functions and activities of the commission.He noted that the only major difference between democracy and any other system of government is the institutionalisation of the legislature as an arm of government.

Stressing that the adoption of constitutional democracy entails more emphasis on an intertwined relationship between the lawmakers and other arms of government, most especially, with the provisions of Sections 88 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides that there must be a harmonious working relationship among arms of government in the quest to deliver exemplary democratic dividends for Nigerians.

Earlier, while welcoming the committee, the Director General of the commission, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, noted that there were many reasons for the commission to engage with members of the House.“You have oversight responsibility over what we do. But how can you effectively do that, if you do not have a sufficient understanding of the complications that underline our work?”

He noted that many people are getting more interested in broadcasting in the country, and the duty of the commission includes, processing the applications for these, monitoring and regulating same, as well a generally ensuring that “broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of the nation, for the public good.”

Kawu pointed out that the commission monitors the Nigerian broadcasting environment on a 24-hour basis, to ensure that the Nigerian broadcasters, keeps to the letters of the law, and on a quarterly basis, release a compendium of stations that have been “warned, fined or sanctioned, one way or the other during that period”.

The board chairman, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, in his remarks, sought the support of the committee in the release of funds for projects lined up by the commission.He reminded members of the committee that the NBC Amendment Bill 2018 was still with the National Assembly, and pleaded with them to help facilitate the passage of the bill for the progress of the commission.There was a presentation by the Chairman, Digiteam, Nigeria, on “DSO: The Journey so far” and further presentations by directorates in the commission.

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