By our reporter| The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has asked all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for broadcast licence.
Armstrong Idachaba, the NBC director-general, gave the directive in a newspaper advertorial published on Thursday.
This follows the federal government’s announcement that Twitter and other social media platforms must register as a Nigerian company for them “to do business in Nigeria.”
Idachaba said in the advertorial that the NBC establishment code empowers the commission to ask the companies to be licensed.
Section two (b) of the NBC act of 2004 states: “(1) The Commission shall have [the] responsibility of: Receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations including (i) cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.”
“The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) hereby directs every Online Broadcast Service provider and Social Media Platforms operating within the Nigerian State to apply and obtain broadcast licence for their service(s), the advertorial read.
“Note that any Online Broadcast Service Provider that fails to obtain a licence will be considered an illegal entity.”
The Nigerian government moved to license social media companies after Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, referencing the country’s civil war following attacks on government institutions and security officers in the South east by suspected IPOB militants.
The federal government subsequently suspended Twitter in Nigeria and directed NBC to “immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria”.