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BREAKING: NBC Queries Channels TV As Programme Anchors Honour DSS Invitation |The Republican News


The Department of State Security DSS has invited the anchors of Channels Television breakfast programme in connection with an interview conducted on the programme on Wednesday

A lawyer from the organization is accompanying the presenters who are said to be on their way to Abuja at the time of filing this report

Similarly, the National Broadcasting Commission NBC has issued a query to the broadcaster. The broadcast regulator is accusing Channels Telebi of airing an inciting interview and has asked it to respond within 24-hours

The station had reportedly broadcast a live interview with retired naval commodore Kunle Olawunmi who accused the Buhari government of shielding sponsors of the Boko Haram terrorists

Though he failed to mention names, he also stated that some Governors, ministers and senators are sponsors of Boko Haram and that the Government knows them.

In another interview which held on the same programme, Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom accused President Muhammadu Buhari having a hidden agenda of trying to ‘fulanize’ the country, in reference to the grazing route policy.

According to the NBC, the interview was “inciting and divisive”

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Lai Mohammed Caught In 10 Billion Naira Fraud Scandal, As ICPC Raids NBC |The Republican News

Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed

by Our Reporter

The Independent Corrupt Practices And other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has raided the offices of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over N10billion  fraud perpetrated under the supervision of Nigeria’s Information Minister Mr Lai Mohammed and suspended Director-General of the commission, Mr Ishaq Modibbo Kawu.
Sources to Pointblanknews.com revealed that a N10 Billion loan released to the commission since December last year was diverted to a private account and has so far yielded interests estimated in excess of One Billion Nara already.

According to the source, following a tip off, the ICPC early last week  raided the commission’s headquarters in Abuja and impounded several files, computers and gadgets belonging to the commission.

Lai Mohammed since assumption of office as a minister in Mohammed Buhari’s government has allegedely been enmeshed in a series of financial scams including the recent has jeopardized the Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over (DSO) Project that has been operating in fits and starts since 2016.

Pointblanknews.com reported that the Minister in 2015 admitted extorting N13.5 Million from the NBC to embark on a foreign trip.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that N10 Billion was a loan provided to help offset debts owed to contractors who have been building infrastructure to enable the DSO project commence in the earnest.

The DSO is the process of upgrading the present analogue television broadcast systems to digital terrestrial television (DTT). The project is founded on an international protocol signed by Nigeria among several countries in the Group A batch of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva in 2006. The protocol gave a deadline of July, 2015 to fully switch over from analogue to digital.

Almost all countries of the world have since eradicated analogue television broadcast and transited to the digital platform leaving Nigeria.

Nigeria first started the process in 2008 but made no progress. In 2016 the Nigerian Government faced with the vulnerabilities of solely operating an obsolete technology relaunched the program with fanfare in Jos Plateau State, but it was quickly marred with scandals of fraud and embezzlement of funds involving the Minister Mr Mohammed and the then DG NBC DG Mr Ishaq Modibbo Kawu

Mr Kawu was suspended from office and he’s still facing criminal charges at the Federal Court in Abuja, Capital of Nigeria while Mr Mohammed who approved the scam still seats pretty in office.

The project again stalled and contractors who had worked on the project since commencement with belief that payment will be made timely to enable then service bank obligations and sustain the tempo of the project were unable to continue following the reported fraud which led to the Nigerian government halting further action on the project to investigate the scams.

But the NBC it was gathered raised alarm on the likely difficulties to be faced by Nigeria if the project continues to stalemate. These included local television stations not been able to access spare parts any longer for their equipment.

Given the urgency, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of N10 Billion Naira as loan to the NBC with a total of N9.4 billion to be used as payment to contractors and N600 Million as recurrent fund for the NBC to prosecute project.

But the contractors never got the money even though it was fully released in the first week of January until two weeks ago when they began to receive payments in trickles. In fact, the money never even got to the NBC Accounts- even now!

Rather Mr Mohammed was said to have allegedly entered into some dubious arrangement with officials of the hierarchy of the finance ministry to divert the money to an interest yielding account for an initial 90 days which was again rolled over in the month of March for a second time until the contractors became restive.

Even the decision to hurriedly liquidate the money from fixed

deposit and pay the contractors it was gathered as a result of a tip off to the Minister that the contractors may have contacted the anti-graft agencies.

Indeed one of the companies was said to have alerted the ICPC and EFCC  to complain that the NBC was fraudulently withholding the money. But the ICPC which swung into action immediately after receiving the complaint was said to have discovered during its preliminary investigation that the money never got to the NBC.

Beside, even the N600million approved for the commission to run the project has been coveted by Mr Mohammed and diverted to the ministry where he contrived  a scheme to personally and directly control the funds.

He quickly set up a ministerial task force on DSO – ploy that not only effectively usurped the role of the NBC and Digiteam a body of experts already put in place by Nigeria’s federal government to liaise with the NBC with an ultimatum to deliver the DSO Project latest be June 2022, but also ensured the money was not subject to audit and official control of the ministry. Taking no chances Mr Mohammed appointed himself the Chairman of the task force  and unilaterally assumed the power of disbursing the N9.4 Billion and also appropriating the N600 Million which was clearly marked for the NBC.

Among the five contractors listed for payment are Messrs Inview to collect N908,000,000, Messrs Intergrated Television services (ITS)  to collect N3,773,046,000;…Messrs Pinnacle Communications 1,936,572,305 Messrs SES 2,148,762,245 and Messrs Outsource with about N800,000,00.

Mr Mohammed is known to have an undue interest in Inview managed by one Toyin Zubairu said to be his business patner.

The said Zubairu was the CEO of the Defunct HITV, a company Mr Mohammed was implicated in as Legal Adviser before it was mismanaged to liquidation by Zubairu. Mr Mohammed has scheduled Zubairu’s Inview for a payment of N908 Million in the N9.4billion just removed from the private interest yielding account.

Reliable industry sources informed Pointblanknews.com that the N908M payment is a fraud as Messrs Inview had already been paid N1.2 Billion for the same services in 2015.

Beside, Mr Mohammed was alleged to have used his power as the  minister to intimidate the NBC into paying N350 Million to Mr Zubairu as Digital Access Fee for accessing a platform which the commission paid Zubairu to build for it.

“It’s like I pay a contractor to build a house for me. Then when I moved into the house a bully comes and began forcing me to start paying rent to the contractor for occupying my own house- even after I have fully paid him for his work as contractor” a distraught service provider in the DSO project lamented to Pointblanknews on Monday after the ICPC raid.

Beside the ICPC, it is reliably learnt that Mr Mohammed had always used the NBC as a personal cash cow and had been crafty enough using his political influence to make DGs of the NBC fall guys whenever the scams were busted.

First was the Emeka Mbah, DG between 2013 to 2016 before he was arrested and detained by the EFCC for an alleged N15 Billion Fraud. He was alleged to have kept the said N15 Billion in Zenith Bank to generate interest rather than follow the rule of the Treasury Single Account Policy of the government.

Mr Mbah was able to prove to the EFCC that he did nothing without the highest approval. He produced evidences of minutes of meeting with Mr Mohammed presiding where it was agreed to lodge the money in Zenith Bank allegedly as guarantee to contractors engaged by the commission to produce Set-top Boxes to be used for the DSO Program. He produced the Minister’s approvals .

Curiously the EFCC spared Mr Mohammed who approved the dubious lodgement and Mr Mbah was hauled before a federal court in Abuja to face charges bothering on corruption! The scandal led to his sack by the President Buhari who immediately appointed Mr Kawu on the recommendation of Mr Mohammed. Mr Kawu and Mohammed are both from Kwara State in North Central Nigeria.

But just two years into his tenure Mr Kawu’s quickly came to grief when another  scandal of N2.5 Billion involving Mr Mohammed erupted. A private company Pinnacle Communications was surreptitiously awarded N2.5 Billion on the approval of Mr Mohammed for no work done whatsoever. It was called “seed money” to enable the company prepare to provide digital telecommunication services to the DSO project.

Mr Mohammed who at the time was a graduate of 40 years and a lawyer with 30 years’ experience quickly claimed he was deceived by Mr Kawu into signing the approval for the whooping N2.5 Billion. He claimed he really knew nothing about the scam and only relied on the recommendations of Mr Kawu. But Mr Kawu and Mr Lucky Omoluwa, CEO of Pinnacle hotly disputed Mr Mohammed’s claim of ignorance. They presented proof that there was series of meetings between the NBC, Pinnacle Communications and Mr Mohammed who presided at all the meetings. Beside he went on foreign trips sponsored by the contractors and still collected official allowances and estacodes for the same trips.

Infact, Mr Kawu was said to have been convinced that the decision to originate the memo followed a verbal directive from Mr Mohammed who wasted no time in rushing to approve the money without raising any questions.

Sources at the commission reveal that N150 Million of the money paid to Pinnacle was traced to the personal account of Jimi Mohammed, son of the Minister now a member of  the Lagos State House of Assembly.

But despite the overwhelming evidence of his culpability, like  what happened in the previous case, Mr Mohammed is confident that his political weight and connections as a major player in the ruling party will again save him.

Lai Mohammed this time became arrogant and was reported to have thoroughly harassed the investigators from the ICPC and several times either dictated the scope and mode of interrogation or even refused to be interrogated all together.

Expectedly the ICPC arraigned only Mr Kawu and even recommended his suspension from office. Mr Mohammed a co-suspect in the scam was not only excluded but was actually reported to have desperately worked to secure presidential approval on the ICPC recommendation to suspend his fellow suspect with dispatch.

Observers are concerned that the President Buhari’s administration notoriously known  for treating allegations of corruption from cronies with “deodorant” and those of opposition members with harsh “pesticides” may again weigh in and allow Mr Mohammed escape once more with the glaring cases of corruption that is presently raging.

Mr Kawu a brilliant journalist, veteran broadcaster and respected ace columnist of several years standing is still embroiled in the criminal trials, desperate to establish his innocence while Mr Omoluwa, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications a successful business man of several years wasn’t that lucky. He died in the course of the prosecution with his name tainted. Mr Mohammed has remained tenaciously on his seat to be engaged in several other financial scams confident that he’s a sacred cow in a so called anti-corruption government that has so far glossed over every reported case of corruption reported against its high ranking appointees. (Pointblanknews.com)

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BREAKING: NBC Suspends Channels TV For Speaking With IPOB On Live Broadcast |The Republican News

The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC has suspended Channels Television with a fine N5 million for breaching the broadcast code.

In a letter to the Managing Director of Channels Television signed by the Acting Director General of the Commission, NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, the Commission referred to Channels 7pm live broadcast programme of Sunday, 25th April, 2021, in which it accused the TV station of allowing a leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB to make secessionist and inciting declarations on air without caution or reprimand by the station contrary to the broadcast code.

It also accused the station of allowing the guest speaker to make derogatory, false and misleading statements about the Nigerian army, despite being proscribed by a court of law.

Details Later

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Lai Mohammed To Appear In Court Over N2.5bn NBC Fraud Case |The Republican News

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

The immediate-past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, will appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja over his role in the payment of N2.5bn by the National Broadcasting Commission for the Federal Government Digital Switch-Over programme.

According to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, the ICPC had filed 12 counts before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, against the Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Lucky Omoluwa, and the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Dipo Onifade.

He added that the NBC DG misled the former minister into approving government funds to a private company.

The ICPC is also prosecuting Kawu over alleged abuse of office and money laundering.

The commission said, “The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following discovery by the ICPC during investigations, that a government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of the NBC.

“Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from the ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi. Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel for the ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5bn from the NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited as seed grant was suspicious because only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.

“The court also heard that the processes that led to the final payment of the fund to the private company were shrouded in secrecy as revealed by the minutes of an NBC emergency board management meeting where issues of carriage fees owed Pinnacle and not seed grant was discussed.”

The statement said 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of Pinnacle Communications, Omoluwa, immediately after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.

“The transactions include payments of N363m to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4m to one James Segun and N127 m to Onifade. Onifade explained that he received the money as legal fee he rendered to the company.

“A Bureau de change operator, Salisu Daura, who also testified in court, said he received N167m in two installments of N97m and N70m. Daura added that the sums were converted into $265,000 and $195,735 at the rate of N360 to US dollar, and handed the cash to one Alhaji Sabo, supposedly on behalf of Pinnacle Communications,” the commission noted. (Punch)

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Court Quashes Shut Down By NBC, Orders Status Quo On AIT |The Republican News


By John Chuks Azu

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered status quo on the withdrawal of operating licence of the Daar Communications PLC over alleged breach of broadcasting code. Justice Inyang Ekwo on Friday ordered the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Attorney General of the Federation to appear on Thursday, June 13 to show cause why the motion on notice challenging the action of the regulatory agency should not be granted.

In an ex parte application brought by its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Daar PLC operators of African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM, Faaji FM and Daarsat had on Thursday asked the court to order status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the main suit.

The NBC had in a letter dated May 27, 2019 accused Daar of breaching the Nigeria’s Broadcasting Code with its Kakaaki and other programmes and subsequently withdrew its licence.

In the suit against the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Attorney General of the Federation, Daar claimed that it had since the licence of its television and radio stations been conducting its operations in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution. It therefore asks the court to make an order

“restraining the defendants from blocking, jamming, stopping removing from air and/or interfering with the air waves of the plaintiff/applicant (Daar Plc) in any way and manner howsoever called from invading the premises of the plaintiff/applicant (Daar Plc) or closing down, viet armis, the said premises, its operations or broadcast services, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.”

Enumerating grounds for the action, Daar Plc said the defendants had on April 16 in a Gestapo-style invaded its premises and pulled down two buildings and gates leading to its operational office in Asokoro, Abuja worth millions of naira. (Daily Trust)

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JUST IN: Atiku Abubakar Condemns Shut Down Of AIT, Warns Against Dictatorship |The Republican News

PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The announced suspension of the practising license of DAAR communication by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC, is generating reactions from well-meaning Nigerians who see the action of the NBC as a calculated attempt by the FG to gag the media.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just-concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar has added his voice to the development. Atiku said he “received with trepidation reports of the withdrawal of the licenses of AIT and Ray Power owned by DAAR Group.

“The Gen. Buhari administration needs to be reminded that freedom of the press and of speech is not only fundamental to democracy, but it is also guaranteed by the constitution.

“Nothing untoward must be done to roll back our hard-earned democracy.”

Speaking via his twitter handle, Alhaji Atiku said “If at this time, we stand by as the Press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship. This should not happen.

“I am a lifelong Democrat and throughout my political life, I have championed the principles of Separation of Powers. The Legislature has been challenged. The Judiciary has been tackled.” (Journalist101)

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BREAKING NEWS: African Independent Television, AIT Shut Down By NBC |The Republican News

African Independent Television, AIT

By Chibiko Ikenna Offor

The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the license of Dar Communication Plc, promoter of AIT television and RAY POWER FM until further notice.

The withdrawal of their license was announced by the Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu on Thursday evening.

He said the action was taken for failure of the broadcasting station to abide by the broadcasting code.

AIT and the regulatory body, NBC has been at loggerheads over one of the segments of a programme on AIT “kakaki social” which the regulatory body said is promoting anti government materials.

Below is the press briefing from the NBC regarding to the indefinite shut down of AIT.

PRESS BRIEFING ON SUSPENSION OF LICENCE – DAAR COMMUNICATIONS, HELD TODAY 6TH JUNE, 2019 AT THE NBC HEADQUARTERS IN ABUJA.

Following monitoring reports and complaints from concerned Nigerians about the broadcast contents of Daar Communications Plc’s AIT/Raypower broadcast stations, the NBC have over the last 2 years summoned on several occasions management of the company to address issues regarding the operations of AIT/Raypower with the company, particularly, Political Platform and Kakaaki aired on AIT.

In one of our meetings, held on 2nd June, 2017, the Commission expressed its disappointment with the way and manner Hate Speech, divisive and inciting comments are applied in discussion of national issues in breach of the provisions of the NBC Act and Broadcast Code.

Again, on 15th August, 2017, it became imperative to invite the company for yet another meeting on almost same issues. Furthermore, while addressing another meeting on 7th February, 2018 we highlighted issues of concern to the Commission which indicated that the company had been breaching the provisions of Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 of the broadcast Code. The company’s delegates in their response promised to abate the breaches and comply with the law.

However, on October 18, 2018, the Commission was disturbed with the manner in which social media issues became part of the mainstream media unedited on AIT/Raypower, and was constrained to issue a generic letter to all broadcast stations on

the need to exercise caution in the use of user generated content from the social media knowing how volatile and misleading the social media has become. The management of Daar Communication Plc thereafter took to the social media to display our official correspondences.

Recently, the Commission’s monitoring reports on AIT/Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of “Kakaaki”, tagged, “Kakaaki Social”, where inciting comments like, “Nigeria is cursed, we declare independent state of Niger Delta”, “Nigeria irritates me”, “this country is gradually Islamizing” and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast Code. We were therefore constrained to issue Daar Communication letters of warning dated May 27th, 2019.

We also observed from monitoring reports that a documentary on the Presidential Election Tribunal, a pending election petition matter aired on AIT on Wednesday and Thursday, 22nd and 23rd May, 2019 without regard to the provisions of the Broadcast Code. The Commission, in line with its regulatory powers again cautioned AIT in another letter also dated 27th May, 2019.

However, instead of making amends, the management of Daar Communications Plc resorted to the use of media propaganda against the regulator. Even the letters from the NBC were posted on social media platforms.

Needless to state that Daar Communications have over the years turned themselves into a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run.

In their relationship with the NBC, Daar Communications carry on, as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the Commission. They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due.

Its broadcast is patently partisan and one sided and deliberately inciting and heating the polity. The management of the Company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.

SHUT DOWN ORDER

Today the 6th of June, 2019, AIT/Rapower embarked on use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts, and media propaganda against the government and, the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria.

Consequently, after several meetings with management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning. The NBC, today 6th June, 2019 took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the Commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

This decision is based on the provisions of Section 10 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which states as follows:

(d) where in the opinion of the Commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest.

(g) where there is wilful or repeated failure to operate
substantially as set forth in the licence

(h), where there is wilful or repeated violation or wilful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Act or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(i), where there is violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission;

(k), where a provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code has been seriously breached; and

The SHUT DOWN order is until further notice.

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