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  • May 25, 2017
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On the 25th of May 2016, The President of Nigeria, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mall. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu as the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. A seasoned journalist with over 40 years of experience straddling radio, television and print, Mall. Kawu hit the ground running on his resumption at the helm of affairs of the Commission.

It is significant that Kawu came on board at a time when Nigeria was beginning the transition of broadcasting from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Before his assumption of office, the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project had been on-going since the constitution of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2009 and two switch-over deadlines had been missed since then: June 17th, 2012 and January 1st, 2015. One year after, Mall. Kawu, against all odds, has repositioned and refocused the Commission for optimum productivity.  He has effectively piloted the Switch over from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting in Abuja.

Kawu’s dexterity and professionalism came on board as he navigated the Abuja DSO, which followed the success achieved by the Jos pilot-city switch-on on 30th, April, 2016 by the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Abuja was switched on December 22nd, 2016 by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.  Residents of Abuja now enjoy about 30 digital television channels while Jos has increased from 15 to 20 channels offering under his watch. As a strategic initiative and to keep the public integrated in the process, the call centre resources in Abuja have been increased from 30 to 60 agents with a new toll free line to serve consumers better. The centre is closely monitored with training and retraining of agents to meet emerging challenges.

Prior to the appointment of Mall. Kawu, Pinnacle communications Ltd, one of the signal distributors licensed by the Commission, had instituted a court case against the Commission. The case which was one of the sour factors in the process, stalled the DSO project for a while. Mall. kawu on assumption of office brokered a peaceful resolution of all the contentious issues between the Commission and Pinnacle Communications Ltd which resulted in an out of court settlement. Pinnacle Communications was subsequently pivotal to the Abuja switch-over process.

Just barely one year in office, Mall. Kawu is working around the clock along with his team to achieve the roll out of the DSO in one state in each of the six geo political zones. The states are Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Osun and Rivers. Work is ongoing in the six states identified for immediate rollout by the two signal distributors ITS and Pinnacle Communications Ltd to ensure a hitch free roll out in each of the locations in the next phase of the Digital Switchover.

Within his first year in office as DG, NBC, Mallam kawu ensured that all the outstanding payments due to STB Manufacturers for STBs supplied were made.

Malam Kawu has also intensified consultations with various state Governments to get their buy-in into the DSO process especially with a view to subsidizing the STBs for their citizens.

Mall. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has put in place plans to introduce world best practices and innovations into the process of monitoring the airwaves, to this end, he has engaged manufacturers of Broadcast equipment in several conferences, workshops and summits, on the best way of monitoring the airwaves in the 21st century. To fulfil his promise of prioritising capacity building, Kawu ensured that ALL cadres of staff of the Commission were re-trained within one year of his assumption of office both home and abroad. In the area of staff welfare, Mall Kawu has been able to meet the welfare entitlements of staff as at when due.

He is consciously equipping the various Zonal and State offices of the Commission with needed equipment for maximum productivity. In January, 2017, he directed the relocation of the Maiduguri Zonal office, which was temporarily moved to Gombe State in 2013, in the heat of Militancy in the North Eastern axis of the Country. Today, the Maiduguri Zone, aptly named, is operating from Maiduguri.

Over the years many operators have either delayed in paying or refused to pay their license fees, thereby hampering the operations of government. With great courage, he directed licensees who were indebted to the Commission to pay up their commitments or be sanctioned. The response has been very impressive. Debtor stations have continued to beseech the Commission to settle their bills.

The focus today is the benchmark date of June 17th, 2017, which was agreed upon by the Countries in the West-Africa sub-region for the Switchover from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television Platform. Towards achieving this, Mall. Kawu and his management team have continued to engage the various stakeholders involved in the transition including Legislators, Government officials, Broadcasters, Educational Institutions, Marketers and suppliers of Broadcast equipment, the international communities, etc., on the success of the DSO and the general development of the broadcasting industry in Nigeria.

Under his leadership the Commission is in the process of giving the industry the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

The consensus is that, within one year, with the cooperation of stakeholders in the broadcasting industry, Mall. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has instilled confidence in the Broadcasting Industry with dignity of service while forging ahead to make his mark in the annals of history of Broadcast Regulation in Nigeria.

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