By Emma Okonji
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has engaged members of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, to facilitate the passage of the NBC Amendment Bill 2018.
The meeting was held in Ibadan and initiated by the NBC 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.
Members of the Board of NBC, also used the opportunity to reel out the challenges of the Commission, which included lack of sufficient funds to implement approved projects of the Commission.
The Chairman, Board of the Commission, Alhaji Ikra 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.
In his opening address, the Chairman of the Committee, Odebunmi Dokun, pointed out that as a Committee with oversight function 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 was the institutionalisation of the legislature as an arm of government.
He stressed 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.
The Director General of the Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, noted that there were many reasons why 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,” Kawu asked.
He noted that the interest for broadcasting in Nigeria was growing every day, and the duty of the Commission included 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.”