Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, announced that he would online news platforms will now be regulated. The announcement was made today, Thursday 10th October 2019, and a seven-man committee has already been inaugurated to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Members of the committee include:
- Armstrong Idachaba, NBC director of monitoring (chairman);
- Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON);
- J.K. Ehicheoya, director, legal services, ministry of information and culture;
- Binta Adamu Bello, secretary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON);
- Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration, FRCN;
- Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, NBC board member
- Joe Mutah, chief press secretary, ministry of information and culture (secretary).
Lai Mohammed acknowledged President Buhari’s approval of the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for hate speech offenses as well as the amendment to the NBC act to enable it to license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country. There is also an upgrade of political comments relating to hate speech to ”Class A” offense in the broadcasting code.
Lai Mohammed listed the terms of reference of the committee as follows:
To establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria,
To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the national assembly.
To work out the modalities for competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.
To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment into the board of the NBC.
The Minister went on to say: “I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly-experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator,”