February 5, 2019
5 mins read
In 2014, Pinnacles Communications Limited won an open, competitive bid, amongst 11 companies, to be appointed as the Second National Broadcast Signal Distributor (BSD), for Nigeria’s Digital Switchover (DSO). The Nigerian Government White Paper on the transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting, had directed that a BSD be licensed from the public broadcaster, NTA, and that led to the licensing of the Integrated Television Services (ITS).
This was premised upon the fact that there should be a BSD from the public sector, leveraging upon the investment made nationwide by the government in the NTA transmission system. However, the White Paper went further that another BSD be licensed IMMEDIATELY, while a third could come later, when the exigencies of the market dictated. This was the basis of the open bid that Pinnacle Communications Limited won. The bid opening was broadcast on television and on winning, Pinnacle Communications Limited paid a license fee of N618Million to the NBC. That was in 2014; two years before Is’haq Modibbo Kawu was appointed as Director General of the NBC.
However, soon after it was licensed, Pinnacles Communications Limited noticed discrepancies in the PROMISED license as stated in the bid documents, and the ACTUAL license it was issued. When they couldn’t reach an agreement on those terms, they went to court. They were in court for two years till 2016. In 2015, the NBC paid the ITS, the BSD from NTA, a SEED GRANT of N1.7Billion. This was in consonance with a provision of the White Paper. That was the year of the change of administration in the country. They had been paid to facilitate work for the launch of a PILOT PHASE of the Digital Switchover (DSO), which eventually took place in April 2016 in Jos Plateau State. As well as to launch in two other locations around the country.
The Jos Pilot offered viewers 15 channels of TV and was quite a success. Modibbo Kawu was appointed DG in May 2016; and immediately began consultations with Pinnacle Communications Limited, on their grievances. They accepted to come out of court, citing two reasons: that they had nothing against the Buhari administration and were willing to listen to the new DG. On that basis, an Out-of-Court settlement was reached, and consequently, Pinnacle Communications Limited were appointed as the BSD for the launch of the Abuja Digital Switchover, in August, 2016. They had three months, between September and December, 2016, to order, import, install and commission their Transmission system, including airfreighting 9tons of equipment into Nigeria. Their system was set up to provide 30channels of TV to viewers in the FCT.
The system was commissioned by the Vice President, on behalf of President Buhari on December 22, 2016. This was broadcast LIVE on NTA. They have subsequently installed same in Kaduna, which was commissioned by Governor Nasir El-Rufai on December 22nd, 2017. Again it was broadcast live on television. They are presently installing transmission equipment in Gombe state, and would subsequently install the same in Delta State, as part of the national rollout of Digital broadcasting. Pinnacle Communications Limited was paid N2.5billion for its services in May 2017, almost six months after installing and commencing transmission in Abuja.
It is important to mention that the payment came out of the N10billion that had been returned to the NBC in September, 2016, from the EFCC recovery account. The money had been left in a commercial bank, when all agencies were ordered to transfer funds into TSA! On returning the money, the NBC received a presidential directive to use the fund SOLELY for DSO payments. And that ALL such payments be APPROVED by the Honourable Minister of Information. NBC paid several stakeholders from the funds. These included Set Top Boxes Manufacturers; Content Aggregators; Companies engaged for DSO-related studies and publicity companies as well as Call Center operator. ALL payments were APPROVED by the Hon. Minister of Information.
And EVERY SINGLE company paid was commissioned for their services BEFORE Modibbo Kawu was appointed NBC DG! It is important to point out, that the White Paper in Section 11b, had underlined that NTA, with 157 transmission sites across Nigeria, has SIGNIFICANT advantage over a new entrant into the business as a BSD. In 11c, it further directed that NBC should provide “CLOSE TO A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD…”, for the success of the DSO. This was the clause that NBC quoted in effecting payment to Pinnacle Communications Limited. When ITS had been paid N1.7Billion in 2015, the dollar exchanged at N165. While the exchange rate in May 2017, when Pinnacle Communications Limited, was N385 to the Dollar.
In June 2018, NBC received a letter from ICPC, stating that they received a petition, that an “unqualified company” was recommended to the Minister of Information, to be paid a SEED GRANT of N2.5billion. The statement made to the ICPC stated that: a. Pinnacle Communications Limited was NOT an “unqualified company”, because they had won a bid, were licensed as the Second BSD and had paid a license fee of N618Million, as prescribed in their licensing terms; b. They were NOT pay a SEED GRANT, but paid for their services, as prescribed by the White Paper. NBC never heard from ICPC again.
But in the meantime, they froze the accounts of Pinnacle Communications Limited. In return, Pinnacle Communications Limited took ICPC to court and eventually got the order freezing their accounts lifted. In October 2018, ICPC issued a press release, stating that it was investigating the DG of “Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation” ( NBC is NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION); they added that NBC misapplied funds in the transition of TELEPHONES from Analogue to Digital. But NBC had NOTHING to do with TELEPHONE but Television.
It was clear that ICPC was conducting what amounted to a “trial-by-media”. On returning to Nigeria, from an official trip abroad, the NBC DG, Modibbo Kawu addressed a press conference to do a rebuttal of the misrepresentations made by the ICPC, presenting the facts of the matter around the payment made to Pinnacles Communications Limited to the media.
The next issue emerged two weeks ago, when the ICPC again issued another press statement, indicating that they have arraigned in court, the DG NBC; the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Sir Lucky Omoluwa; the Executive Director, Mr Dipo Onifade and Pinnacle Communications Limited. So far, there haven’t been any court summons, save the statement carried in the media.
But the issue has become a basis of trolls by social media rats, especially on social media platforms in Kwara state. That is to be expected. They have their backs to the wall, and are clearly on the way out from power in Kwara State. Their 16 year hegemony of fraud is about to be terminated and like addicts suffering a withdrawal symptom, they are desperately snapping around. They have been rejected by the people of Kwara State and because they have no reputation whatsoever to protect, they assume, that like themselves, everyone is a pig. No. They should remain in their filth alone.
These are, after all, people without any meaningful background whatsoever. They have ruined Kwara State and desperately hope that other individuals should be as damaged as they are. But the Director General of the NBC is a man of the highest ethical, professional and family standards. He knows that he is a gold fish in a bowl, and a representative of the good people of Kwara State. His appointment as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission was an expression of the highest levels of trust by President Muhammadu Buhari. It was an appointment that Bukola Saraki raised a delegation to oppose, and they have not recovered from the shock of the appointment. That is why hired social media rats as well as members of the discredited PDP ( which the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, once described as a “basket of scorpions, stinging themselves to death”), continue to ask that Modibbo Kawu be removed as DG NBC.
They were deluded that no Kwaran could get any Federal appointment, unless it was endorsed by Bukola Saraki. Well President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Modibbo Kawu as NBC DG, and showed that Kwarans with the highest ethical and professional standards don’t need a tin god before they are recognized for service to our country. What they couldn’t achieve even as members of the APC, they now think they can use social media rats, the discredited PDP and nondescript groups, to achieve. Please let them continue to wallow in their delusion. They will will be swept into the dustbin of history in the elections of February 16th and March 2nd, 2019.

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