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N654m monitoring equipment not targeted at Southeast —FG

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The Federal Government has debunked claims that it procured hybrid radio spectrum monitoring equipment for N654 million to tame activities of illegal broadcast frequencies operating in the Southeast.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mrs Philomena Oshodin, said the ministry does not have the mandate of monitoring radio broadcasting stations and their services, stressing that the procured monitoring equipment has nothing to do with activities of any socio-cultural organisation.

The statement said that the ministry sought approval before the equipment, which cost N654 million was bought for Anambra State to reduce coverage areas for both Ogoja and Abuja.

Oshodin observed that radio spectrum frequency is scarce and allocated after payment of fees for use by individuals, corporate and government organisations, including security agencies, after the application and approval by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. “This is done after the payment of relevant fees. The licence is renewable every year.”

She noted that in order to ensure compliance by users of assigned frequencies, the ministry obtained an approval, in 2017, to acquire five radio spectrum monitoring equipment and two denial of service equipment.

According to her, “the five Radio Spectrum Monitoring Equipment were deployed to monitor the whole Country as follows: Azare – to cover Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Jigawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Yobe states; Gusau – to cover Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kwara, Katsina and Kaduna states.

Other areas are Ogoja – to cover Cross River, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Ebonyi, Benue, Enugu, Abia and Imo states. Lagos – to cover Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Osun states; Abuja – to cover FCT and Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi,
Edo, Bayelsa, Anambra and Delta states.

Oshodin explained that during the monitoring exercise, it was discovered that the Abuja and Ogoja stations were being over stretched as coverage areas was too large for effective and efficient monitoring, adding that the ministry consequently sought and obtained approval to acquire one additional monitoring system in the sum of N654 million to be sited in Anambra State to reduce the coverage area for both Abuja and Ogoja stations.

She said, “this will reduce Abuja Station’s coverage and enable Abuja to cover Kwara and Ekiti, thereby, reducing the coverage areas for Lagos and Gusau monitoring stations. These monitoring systems can and will actually detect any un-licenced frequency user.

However, any intended user (Individual, Corporate and Government Organisations) is required to apply and obtain licence to operate within their assigned frequency range without any hindrance. The purpose of the licence is to avoid the incidence of harmful interferences to duly licenced users. The public may wish to note that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy does not have the mandate of monitoring radio broadcasting stations and their services.Nothing in the above narration has anything to do with activities of any socio-cultural organisation(s).” 


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