•Information Minister Lai Mohammed
The Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative EUYI and 10 other Civil Society Groups (CSOs) have alleged irregularities and sabotage in Nigeria’s digital switchover plans.
A statement by the CSOs on Monday in Abuja stated that certain groups and individuals were behind Nigeria’s inability to meet the deadline for digital switchover.
The statement was co-signed by Mr Solomon Adodo, National Coordinator of EUYI and 10 other heads of CSOs.
Adodo called on the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to probe the process for the sake of good governance and anti-corruption.
“The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the 2006 Geneva Agreement set a clear timeframe for transition from analogue to digital broadcasting as June 17, 2015 for UHF and June 17, 2020 for VHF.
“These dates are internationally mandated analogue switch-off dates and must be respected by all ITU member-countries for the protection of their broadcast transmission services.
“Ordinarily, it is expected of Nigeria as an ITU member-nation to work assiduously, diligently and with the best standards to ensure that these deadlines are met with.
“We found out to our dismay that certain cartels are working at cross purposes with the digital switch over plan, all for self-serving pecuniary interests,” Adodo said.
He alleged that findings revealed that the failure of Nigeria to meet the digital switch over plan twice was as a result of ineptitude, misappropriation of fund and sharp practices.
Adodo said that the irregularities were geared at tilting signal distribution component of the process in favor of a commercial entity created in September 2015.
He said that another company was granted a licence under questionable circumstance that was alien to the White Paper of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Nigeria.
The CSOs called for the withdrawal of any operating licence that was not transparently awarded and the immediate replacement of obsolete equipment.
The heads of CSOs that signed the statement included Mr Yomi David of Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative, Mr Okpanachi Jacob of Civil Society Advocacy Group for Accountability and Probity, and Ms. Adebimpe Adeboye of Royal Empowerment for Development Initiative.
Others were: Mr Raymond Obuseh (Integrity Leaders International Development Initiative), Mallam Suleiman Musa (Independent Public Service Watch), Mr Jonathan Ogwuche (Youth Advocacy for Credible Leadership) and Mr Danesi Momoh (Guardians of Democracy and Development). (NAN)