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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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