Members of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, met recently with members of the Board and Management of the National Broadcasting Commission in Ibadan.
The meeting was to brief members of the Committee on the mandate of the Commission as well as conception, Implementation, Benefits and Challenges of the Digital Switchover (DSO) in Nigeria, including other past and present endeavours of the Commission with a view to put all hands-on deck for the progress of the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.
In his opening address, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun Dokun, pointed out that as a Committee with oversighting on the NBC, it is imperative for the Commission to take advantage of the current harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature to ensure that they are adequately carried along on the broader scope of the functions and activities of the Commission.
He noted that the only major difference between democracy and any other systems of government is the institutionalization of the legislature as an arm of Government, stressing that the adoption of constitutional democracy entails more emphasis on an intertwined relationship between the lawmakers and other arms of government, most especially with the provisions of Sections 88 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides that there must be a harmonious working relationship among arms of Government in the quest to deliver exemplary democratic dividends for Nigerians.
Earlier, the Director General of the Commission, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, welcomed the respected Committee to Ibadan and noted that there were many reasons the Commission needed to engage with the Committee.
“You have oversight responsibility over what we do. But how can you effectively do that, if you do not have a sufficient understanding of the complications that underline our work?”
He noted that the interest for Broadcasting in Nigeria is growing every day, and the duty of the Commission includes processing the applications for these, monitoring and regulating same, as well as generally ensuring that “broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of the nation, for the public good”.
Mallam Kawu pointed out that the Commission ‘police’ the Nigerian broadcasting environment on a 24-hour basis, to ensure that the Nigerian broadcasters keep to the letters of the law, and on a quarterly basis, release a compendium of stations that have been “warned, fined or sanctioned, one way or the other during that period”.
The Chairman, Board of the Commission, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, in his remarks, sought the support of the Committee in the release of funds for projects lined up by the Commission.
He reminded members of the Committee that the NBC Amendment Bill 2018, was still with the National Assembly, and pleaded with the Committee to help facilitate the passage of the bill for the progress of the Commission.
There was presentation by the Chairman, Digiteam, Nigeria, Engr. Edward Amana, on “DSO: The Journey so far”, and further presentations by Directorates in the Commission, and these were followed by interactive sessions.