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HURIWA takes NBC to EFCC for spending N2.5bn on digital switch­-over

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has dragged the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N2.5 billion given to signal distributors.

It said the Geneva 2006 agreement had set June 17, 2015 for UHF and June 17, 2020 for VHF as the dates after which countries may use those frequencies currently assigned for analogue television transmission for digital services, without being required to protect the analogue services of neighboring countries against interference.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, its National Coordinator, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko said in 2007, the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua approved the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in the country effective June 17, 2012 in line with the International Telecommunications (ITU) resolution.

He said stakeholders in the broadcast industry believe that Nigeria would have gone far by now, if some of the ripples had been avoided because the country has missed two deadlines for switch-over.

These, he noted, had been rationalised by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as normal teething problems whereas N2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money was allegedly used to fund a private company, which by contractual agreements should be paying the Federal government.

He pointed out that government white paper recommended that no private sector should be given any slots rather than government owned institutions.

Onwubiko noted that some fifth columnists were working to destabilise the Digital Switch Over as it is being revolutionised by Integrated Television Service (ITS) in which they were casting aspersions on the authenticity of the state of infrastructure installed by the ITS which is owned by NTA.

We will seek clarification to know the status of the grant if any and if we are not satisfied we will proceed to the EFCC to demand forensic investigation of the damaging allegations, the group stated.



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