Civil society groups, community-based organizations, and members of grassroots communities have called on the broadcast regulatory body, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to urgently initiate the issuance of community radio licenses to communities in Nigeria.
The call was made at a two-day workshop held in Enugu by the Institute for Media and Society (IMESO) in collaboration with the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC). It was supported by the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD II) project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The workshop, which held on October 18 and 19, 2013 , focused on identifying and promoting Community Radio as a tool to deepen Democratic Governance.
Participants observed that community radio should be part of the process of deepening democracy and development in Nigeria as it does all over the world and that it has immense potentials for helping the various agenda of government, such as the various peace building and other initiatives in the Niger Delta and the South East.
They also noted that, communities in the South-East and South-South zones in Nigeria are in dire need of effective grassroots communication facilities. They stated that the process of granting radio licenses for grassroots communities has dragged for too long, despite the directive by the President in 2010 that the licensing should start immediately.
In view of the above observations, participants recommended that not only should issuance of community radio licenses commence, but that federal government agencies whose mandate is for community and rural development should partner with grassroots communities and civil society groups for communication skills building towards the success of the electoral process in Nigeria.
Participants urged communities intending to establish community radio stations to intensify their efforts and ensure that appropriate steps are followed in the process, to enable the emergence of viable community radio stations.
Participants proposed that international development agencies should not relent in their efforts to support communities in the area of capacity building targeted at the development of community radio and also promote advocacy for community radio licensing in Nigeria.
IMESO is an independent, non-governmental organization established to help build and improve the communication capacity and environment of the media, civil society and governance institutions to facilitate popular participation in democracy and development in Nigeria.