From Fred Itua, Abuja
DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Ishaq Modibbo Kawe, yesterday, disclosed that
the agency would spend billions of naira on the country’s proposed digital switchover expected to kick off in June next year.
The Director-General made the disclosure when the Senate Committee on Information, led by Suleiman Adoke, visited the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
He also explained that the commission was planning a national conference on hate speech, to collate information from the conduct of the last general elections and ensure that plans are put in place to guard against them in future elections.
“We are going to hold a hate speech conference soon in the country. We are gathering all the information from the last elections. We are trying to see how we can develop a legislation that will guard against hate speeches in Nigeria.
“We will engage the civil societies, the legislature and other critical stakeholders to come up with ways through which we can stop these hate speeches. We are reviewing the National Broadcasting Commission laws to ensure that we guard against these things.
“We are going to start producing set-top boxes in Nigeria so we can create jobs for Nigerians. Already, people are opening factories in different parts of the country and I have visited some of the places,” he said.
Adoke urged the NBC boss to ensure that politicians are also enlightened during the advocacy conference, and warned against any major hitches during the digital switchover in 2017. He said the Senate
will not accept any failures during the switchover.
“It is hoped that every agency we oversight will always cooperate with us. We are here, preparatory to the presentation of the 2017 budget. We need to be sure of what is happening here since you regulate the broadcast industry.
“We are entering a new phase of broadcasting which will open a new phase to Nigerians. We want to ensure that we meet the July 2017 digital switch over and ensure that there are minimal hitches. If you fail, we will fail too,” he said.
FINANCE : Nigeria gets EU’s support on North East, Niger Delta
From Uche Usim, Abuja
HOPES of rebuilding the war-torn North East and the Niger Delta regions got a boost on Monday as the European Union (EU) pledged to support the reconstruction project with €20 million. The money is specifically earmarked for markets and warehouses in Borno and Delta states.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Mi- chael Arrion, who made the disclosure during a visit to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in her office in Abuja on Monday, said the funds would be offered to the two states in the form of budget support.
His words: “Sometime ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the state level, using a special instru- ment meant for countries emerging from war, and we can look at states in the North East and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets.”
The EU Ambassador said the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, pointing out that several thousands of Nigerian citizens have continued to migrate to Europe.
“We have specific objective for creating this instrument and it is to address the root cause of migration. We are presenting this initiative within the framework of the global response to irregular migration. Today we have a few thousand Nigerians in Europe, and we feel we have the responsibility of attracting them to come back to Nigeria.
“By investing in Africa, we will be creating jobs. We will be mixing grants with loans. We believe the grants will have a leveraged effect,” he said, adding that the EU has in the last two years invested over €300 billion in Africa.