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The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has faulted the attempt by Local Governments to close down radio and television stations defaulting payment of licence fees to its authorities.
The organisation said the move by LG officials to collect licence fees from radio or television stations is in violation to the laws by the National Broadcasting Commission.
PLATFORM TIMES reports that this is contained in a statement signed by Executive Secretary, BON, Dr Yemisi Bamgbose on Thursday.
Dr Bamgbose noted that the BON has constitutional power to collect licence fees from broadcasting media, adding that LG authorities should caution their officials demanding licence fees from media houses.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria has been drawn to the threat by the agents of some local governments to close down Radio and Television stations for not paying Radio and Television licence fees.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not empower any local government to collect radio/ television licence fee from any licensed radio and television stations as such fee is paid to the National Broadcasting Commission as stipulated by law. The powers relating to payment of Licence fees are contained in Section 13 (1) (g) of the NBC Act.
“The right given to Local Government under Section 7 of the Fourth Schedule relates to Radio/Television sets owned by members of the public and not from established Broadcast Media houses that are paying yearly licence fees to the National Broadcasting Commission.
“It will be a violation of the Constitution for any local government or Municipal Council to demand from an established Broadcast Media house to pay Radio and Television licence to it.
“BON recalls that a case that was instituted by a Local Government in Abuja against some Broadcast Media houses on the matter was struck out by the court after the Counsel to the local government voluntarily withdrew the suit following BON’s preliminary objection to the competence and the validity of the Bye-Law being relied on to demand the payment.
“BON wishes to make it clear that matters relating to Broadcasting are classified under Exclusive Legislative lists. No agency or agents of government has been given unilateral power to shutdown any NBC licensed Broadcast media without following due process.”
Bamgbose however appealed to the local government authorities to jettison the plan to shutdown radio and TV stations objecting to the payment of licence fees to its officials.
“We therefore appeal to the Local Government authorities in the country to caution their staff from any attempt to forcefully close down any Broadcast media outfit duly licensed by NBC under whatever guise as this will be contrary to the provisions of the Constitution”, he said.
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