President Muhammadu Buhari has approved operational licenses for 67 new broadcast outfits, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), said on Thursday in Abuja.
NBC Director-General Balarabe Ilelah disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the scorecard of the commission.
“President Buhari has approved hundreds of broadcast licenses; it is a demonstration of his intrinsic democratic values,” Ilelah stated.
According to him, a total of 473 broadcast licenses were granted under Buhari’s administration.
“The breakdown of the licenses approved by Buhari showed that 210 were granted in 2018, 159 in 2021, 37 in 2022, while 67 have so far been granted in 2023.
“This gesture has shown that Buhari is actually a democrat and media-friendly; he is a leader who upholds media freedom and pluralism.
“It is important to note that we currently have 740 functional broadcast stations in Nigeria. The number is expected to grow with the anticipatory approval of additional licenses by the President soon.”
The NBC boss said that Buhari had continued to grant total independence from any political interference for the NBC in the exercise of its regulatory functions, particularly with respect to issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting licenses.
This, according to him, has helped to reduce violations by broadcasters as was the case in the past.
Ilelah called on broadcasters to continue to cooperate with the commission by abiding with the provisions guiding broadcast operations in Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the commission was acquiring some state-of-the-art broadcast monitoring equipment.
“The acquisition of the equipment is in progress; when they all arrive, the commission will get to have Ultra-Modern Artificial Intelligence-driven Central Monitoring Infrastructure,” he said.
On the forthcoming general elections, Ilelah revealed that the commission had deployed all the technical and operational facilities for nationwide monitoring.
According to him, in order to ensure quality broadcast, no locality in Nigeria where a broadcast station exists will be left unmonitored.
He said that a Central Monitoring Committee had been constituted to provide rapid response to unethical broadcasting and violations on election days.
The NBC boss appealed to licensees yet to pay their outstanding debts to settle the dues immediately. (NAN)