The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed Multichoice to sublicense some of its channels to an indigenous digital broadcasting firm, Metro-Digital Limited, thereby putting an end to years of monopoly in the digital broadcasting industry.
The NBC, in a letter dated October 25, 2022, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Multichoice, which was sighted by our correspondent, said the directive was based on the provisions of the NBC Code as amended.
The letter, which was signed by the Commission’s Head of Legal, George Obi, on behalf of the NBC Director-General, reads in part: “You are hereby directed to comply with the 6th edition of the NBC Code as amended pursuant to Metro-Digital’s request for channel sublicensing as ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal.”
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt on Monday on the development, Managing Director of Metro-Digital, Dr. Ifeanyi Nwafor, expressed happiness that the NBC finally complied with the Court of Appeal judgement of July 13, 2022.
Nwafor also expressed appreciation to the federal government, especially the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the NBC, for the roles played towards repositioning the broadcast industry.
He said: “We are glad to announce today that NBC has complied with the order of the Court. The end of monopoly in Nigeria broadcasting industry will enhance competition, innovation and quality of service delivery.
“The industry will experience rapid growth and consumers will benefit from the competitive pricing that follows.
We commend and appreciate the role played by the federal government, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and NBC for repositioning of the industry and end of monopolistic practices that have held the industry down for a long time.
“We also like to commend the Nigerian judiciary for the thorough and painstakingly job to ensure sanity and a level playing field in the Nigerian broadcasting industry.”
Nwafor, who stated that the company laid off over 50 workers within the three years it was in Court with Multichoice, said the firm intends to start operations by the third week of November.
He said: “We were in court for three years and we laid off over 50 workers in the process. We submitted 52 channels and that was granted by the Court.
“We hope to start operation by next week. We have written to them but they have not responded. So, we have not started receiving their signals.
“The NBC directive is binding based on the NBC code and if they fail to Multichoice fails to comply, the penalty is suspension of their license.”