Nigeria grants provisional licences to 17 community broadcast organisations

The Nigeria government, through the National Broadcasting Commission, has granted 17 provisional community broadcast licences to community development organizations across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

This was revealed yesterday at the Nicon Luxury Abuja by Emeka Mba, the Director General of the NBC, who addressed the Meeting of Community Broadcast Stakeholders.

Out of the 17 beneficiaries, South West got four (4), which was the highest. North West, North Central, South East, and South South had three (3) each while North East had just one (1).

The community development associations who made the final list include Dawanau market development association (Kano State, Agba Community Initiative (Benue State), Gelengu Community Development Association (Gombe State), Owerre-Nkoji Town Union (Imo State), EjuleNen Development Association (Ondo State) and Amassoma Information and Resource Centre (Bayelsa State).

Mr. Mba said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was elated to see the long awaited commencement of Community Broadcasting, which is the third tier of broadcasting in Nigeria.

“Community broadcasting recognized by the African Charter on Broadcasting as the third tier of broadcasting, is a key agent of democratization for the highest level of government,” he said.

President Jonathan’s approval, even though well received by sector players, came five years after that the president promised the licencing of community radio in the country.

The President while giving the opening speech at the Africast 2010, first expressed that “the Federal Executive Council has considered and approved the guidelines proposed by the National Broadcasting Commission for the licensing of Community Radio in Nigeria”.

He also said that, “the Presidency has also devolved to the Commission, the power to consider and issue the licences without further recourse to the Presidency, provided such applicants have met all the conditions stipulated by law”.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the first to experiment with community broadcasting in 2002 when he granted University of Lagos, the first campus radio licence. This was described as an educational community broadcast licence meant to be pilot for proper community broadcasting in Nigeria. Currently, close to 30 tertiary institutions have been granted Campus radio licences while only a few among them are actively broadcasting.

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The struggle for community broadcasting started early 2000 by concerned community broadcasting advocates led by late Alfred Opubor, who was the first Professor of Communication in Nigeria.

In November 2003, the group began a nationwide campaign across Nigeria while placing community radio sector agenda on the tables of both the legislative and executive arm of government.

In April 2005, the initiative gave birth to the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC), the umbrella body for community radio development activities in Nigeria.

Presently, the Coalition has within its fold about 500 organizations and individuals located in different parts of the country and the diaspora.

Mr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director of the Institute for Media and Society (IMESO) and Coordinator, NCRC while responding to the news, congratulated the Federal government and NBC for the achievement.

“As it is happening in other parts of the world, the introduction of community radio will bring positives to our country. It will, among other things, expand the pluralism of the media sector, cater to the large underserved sections of the population, and help to address the country’s development challenges at the grassroots,” he said.

Fresh Controversy
There is however controversy over the number of licences given.

Earlier reports said only 12 communities were to be given licences. However, PREMIUM TIMES gathered from a reliable source that some officials of the NBC were pressured by influential personalities to raise the number to 17.

The source said, “We were shocked to find out that 5 of the initial 12 communities recommended by NCRC had been substituted by officials at the NBC. It took the intervention of the Emeka Mba, Director General of National Broadcasting Commission to reinstate them back when members of the Coalition visited him at his office in Abuja”.

Some officials also are said to be pushing for N50, 000 as application fee, and N1 million as an annual licencing fee.

List of Organizations offered Provisional Community Broadcast Licence.

S/NZoneName of CommunityName of AssociationLocal Government AreaState
1North WestDawanauDawanau Market DevelopmentDawanau TofaKano
Gidan JatauBayintrung Community Development AssociationZango-KatafKaduna
??Bright Capacity Initiative Community EnhancementGwanduKebbi
2North CentralOju IgedeAgba Community InitiativeOjuBenue
IgbominaIsin Community Radio InitiativeIrepodunKwara
??Lavun Radio Awareness InitiativeKutigiNiger
3North EastGelenguGelengu Community Radio Development AssociationBalangaGombe
4South EastOwerre-NkwojiOwerre-Nkoji Town UnionNkwerreImo
UroshiUroshi Community AssociationIgbo Eze NorthEnugu
??Michael Okpara UniversityUmudikeAbia
5South WestIkale-EjuleNenEjuleNen Development AssociationOkitipupaOndo
Iwoye-KetuIwoye Ketu Community AssociationImeko/AfonOgun
??Ekimogun Community FoundationOndoOndo
??Integrated Community Initiative CentreOgijoOgun
6South SouthKporFeefeelo Information and Resource CentreGokanaRivers
AmassomaAmassoma Information and Resource CentreSouthern IjawBayelsa
OtuokeOtuokeBayelsa

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