Nigeria’s Digital Switch-Over Plan Suffers Yet Another Setback
The momentum of progress in the DSO came to an abrupt and unexplained halt since February last year when Osun State became the fifth and final state in Nigeria to switch over to digital broadcasting.
The abrupt halt in DSO launch has been attributed by many to the controversial ICPC investigation into the alleged misuse of the over $6 million seed grant given to the agency (NBC) by the Nigerian government to fund its digital switch-over programme. The allegations made by the ICPC ultimately snowballed into charges being laid against the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Pinnacle Communications Limited and their respective executives before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Nigeria has already historically missed two previous DSO deadlines.
Pinnacle Communications Limited, the largest private investor and primary facilitator of the Nigerian DSO has reportedly been submerged under the fanfare of progress in DSO implementation, even to the point where it might be turning into a “victim” of its own achievement.
Soon after becoming the successful bidder and paying the massive sum of $1.8 million for the private signal distribution license in 2014, the NBC and its partners allegedly began sub-letting portions of its functions to companies that were not part of the bidding process as favours. Pinnacle Communications said that it eventually sought out the intervention of the court to put a stop to NBC’s alleged breach of license agreement.
Today, Pinnacle Communications Limited is also facing ICPC charges.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has remained silent about all the obstacles being faced in the DSO project, and his department has said nothing about whether a recovery plan has been put in place in order to get the switch-over project back on track.
The Ministry has made no comment on who really is responsible for the setback and on the way forward.
Credit: This article originated from www.nigeriacommunicationsweek.com.ng