President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to return the N10 billion seized from the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, back to the commission. Director-General of the Commission, Mr. Modibo Kawu, confirmed this, yesterday, during a press briefing on the forthcoming International Conference for African Broadcasters, AFRICAST, starting next week. He explained that the President ordered the release of the money to enable the commission meet its digitization target in 2017.
The fund was the recovered loot and proceeds from the sales of spectrum made by the past administration said to have been diverted. According to the NBC boss, the commission has already commenced processing the release of the money, which will be part of funds expected to be injected into the country’s digitalization process. “President Muhammadu Buhari has gracious approved that the N10 billion be returned to NBC so that we can use it for digital transmission process. The money will be used as part of what we have being dong so far, I would not be letting out the secret if I tell you that money that was taking from the account of NBC into the EFCC recovery account,” he said.
Kawu, who expressed optimism on the ability of Nigeria to meet the June 2017 deadline, assured that the country would achieve the set goal. His words: “I am optimistic that we are going to achieve the 2016 digital switch over deadline. ‘’Three weeks ago, the President was in United Nations when he met the captains of American industry, he did say something that Nigeria was willing to use digital revolution as a major starting point for kick starting a revolutional approach to employment in our country, that includes digital broadcasting. “So at the very top level, the President and the people around him, understand that this is a very important process that we need to achieve.”
Meanwhile, the NBC DG said the forthcoming 2016 AFRICAST was expected to bring together broadcasting experts and entrepreneurs from across the continent to be part of broadcast place of ideas. “Over the years, this event has taken a life of its own and become destination for everybody that operates in the broadcasting industry. “This time, it will take a more interesting tone because we are talking about digitization. We are opening an aperture in the way Africans watch television and we at the NBC are at the course of history in this digitization project.” “There are plans on ground to make it a yearly activity instead of the current biennial. we want Afriast to be a permanent industry activity on the global calendar. We also expect stronger and more visible-buy in into the AFRICAST, by the industry. “We are thinking about a new future for AFTICAST, we plan to make it bigger and better. It will feature top quality signal, cutting edge broadcast equipments. Participants and exhibitors will find AFRICAST as very useful platform for networking opportunities,” he added.
Speaking on the financial benefit to Nigeria, he said “sometime when we talk about the benefit that Nigeria is expecting from the programme. However, sometimes, you don’t quantify everything in terms of Naira and kobo. If you are looking for bottom line every time, you might miss the critical point.” Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on March 3, 2016, recovered N10,061,172,600 from the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, being alleged inflation of collateral funds meant for Digital Set-Top -Boxes.