The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, on Saturday gave Ait/RayPower, Silverbird and the 50 other broadcasting stations that got their operating licenses revoked over failure to pay their licence renewal fees debt a three-day grace to complete the payments.
The suspension of the revocation follows the intervention of the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI).
Consequently, the stations have up to 6pm on Tuesday, August 23, to pay up their debts.
The Nation had reported on Friday that the NBC ordered the stations to go off air beginning this Saturday for contravening Section 10(a) of the 3rd Schedule of the NBC Act, 2004.
The provision says, “10. A licence may be revoked by the Commission in the following cases, that is (a) where the prescribed fee has not been paid on the due date…”
The announcement of the suspension of the revocation was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General of the Commission, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah.
The statement reads: “This is to inform all the affected broadcast stations whose licenses were revoked and given 24 hours to pay all the outstanding license fees, that the National Broadcasting Commission, has extended the period in which all the outstanding debts are to be paid from 24 hours to Wednesday, August 23rd 2022.
“All affected stations who fail to defray their debts on or before August 23rd 2022 are to shut down by 12am on August 24th 2022.
“The extension is due to the appeal by the affected broadcast stations, relevant stakeholders, public-spirited individuals and organisations.”
On its part, IPI Nigeria President, Musikilu Mojeed, expressed delight that the NBC heeded their plea and gave the affected broadcast stations an extension.
“We are glad to report that the Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilela, has graciously agreed to grant an extension on compassionate ground,” Mojeed, said on Saturday.
“Even though this is a temporary relief, we are hopeful that all parties will engage in the next few days with a view to arriving at a lasting resolution of the matter. We thank the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mallam Illela for listening to us and allowing a window for dialogue.
“During our engagement with the Commission, the NBC explained that the commission had in the past granted several concessions to broadcast organizations, including writing off substantial parts of their debts and engaging them consistently to fulfil their financial obligations to the regulator.
“We implore the affected broadcast organizations to take advantage of this window of opportunity by reaching out to NBC.
“Nobody benefits when broadcasting stations are shut down. Members of the public have come to rely on these stations to know what their governments are doing to keep them safe in this challenging security environment. Other governments’ policies are also disseminated to the public through these channels.
“Given the nation’s economic downturn, we further appeal to the affected broadcast stations and the NBC to agree on a workable payment arrangement of the outstanding dues.”