Jonathan Approves Licences for Community Radio Stations


Less than three weeks to the end of his tenure, President Goodluck Jonathan approved provisional community broadcast licences to community development organizations across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

Mr. Emeka Mba, Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), disclosed this on May 13, 2015 during a press briefing that took place in Abuja.

The NBC DG said President Jonathan approved two community radio stations for each of the six geopolitical zones in the country to make the number 12.

He said the NBC regards community radio as the third tier of broadcasting and which further democratises the society, by encouraging people to speak among themselves about issues that concern them.

Announcing it, Mr. Mba said “Mr. President just approved community radio stations, and that is great news for lovers of community radio in the country, finally community radio has been approved in Nigeria”.

He added that the NBC was working out modalities with those licensed to operate the stations to ensure that they carry out their mandate effectively in disseminating information at the grass roots.

He added that “We will be meeting with Community Radio Coalition and the representatives of the licensed stations so that we can work with them and reach a deep understanding on what their roles and responsibilities will be in the new era.

However, when the list of communities for which the community radio licences had been approved was released, the number was 17 and not 12.

Mba who addressed a meeting of community broadcast stakeholders on May 19, 2015 at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja disclosed that …

Of the 17 beneficiaries, South West got four (4); North West , North Central, South East, and South South each got three (3) while the North East got just one (1).

Communities granted provisional licences in the North West are Dawanau Market Development Association, Dawakin-Tofa Local Council, Kano State; Bayintrung Community Development Association, Zango-Kataf Local Council, Kaduna State and Bright Capacity Initiatives Comm. Enhancement, Gwandu, Kebbi State.

In the North Central zone, the beneficiaries are Agba Community Radio Initiative, Oju Local Council, Benue State; Isin Community Radio Initiative, Irepodun Local Council, Kwara State and Lavun Radio Awareness Initiative, Kutigi, Niger State.

In the North East zone, only Gelengu Community Development Association, Balanga Local Council, Gombe State was granted a licence.

In the South East zone, Owerre-Nkwoji Town Union, Nkwerre Local Council, Imo State; Uroshi Community Association, Igbo Eze North Local Council, Enugu State and Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Abia State each got a licence.

In the South West zone, EjuleNen Development Association, Okitipupa Local Council, Ondo State; Iwoye-Ketu Community Development Association, Imeko/Afon Local Council, Ogun State; Ekimogun Community Foundation, Ondo State; and Integrated Community Initiative Centre, Ogijo, Ogun State were granted the provisional licences.

In the South South zone, Feefeelo Information and Resource Centre, Gokana Local Council, Rivers State; Amassoma Information and Resource Centre, Southern Ijaw Local Council, Bayelsa State and Otuoke Community, Ogbia Local Council, Bayelsa were also given provisional licences.

On October 19, 2010 at the NBC organized Africast Conference in Abuja the President had said that “the Federal Executive Council has considered and approved the guidelines proposed by the National Broadcasting Commission for the licensing of Community Radio in Nigeria”.  He said further that it had devolved power to the NBC “to consider and issue the licences without further recourse to the Presidency, provided such applicants have met all the conditions stipulated by law.”

In spite of the approval however, the NBC did not issue any community radio licence till date. The Commission claimed that such a pronouncement was not enough to get it to start issuing community radio licences and until it received written signed directive, it could not do so.

There are twenty-three (23) campus radio stations which operate in tertiary institutions in Nigeria but none is a real campus radio in the real sense of it.