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About 30.5m Nigerians now have Identity Numbers – NIMC

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Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, Director General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has placed the number of Nigerians with the National Identity Number (NIN) at 30.5million.

 

The commission said the gradual acceptance of NIN as a means of identification by some agencies of government in the country was driving up the numbers of Nigerians with the unique numbers.

 

 

The NIMC Director General Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

 

 

Engr Aziz said the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), etc have all made the NIN a mandatory requirement for service delivery and that is forcing many Nigerians to go for NIN.

 

 

‘’We currently have about 30.5 million data in the database with the figures growing daily. The gradual acceptance of the NIN as a means of identification by our partners and stakeholders is also driving up the numbers by the day.

 

 

“For examples, organisations like the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), etc have all made the NIN a mandatory requirement for service delivery. Others are expected to follow suit”, he said.

 

 

He said NIMC had commenced aggressive and massive awareness campaign in all the states and the FCT to mobilise people for enrolment.

 

 

“We are also working closely with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and other media partners with a special target on the grassroots, and it will continue for a long time, particularly with the ecosystem approach being canvassed by the World Bank and its allies.

 

 

“Also, we have the mobile enrolment equipment which goes to some of the riverine and difficult terrains in the grassroots areas; and a good number will be rolled out by the end of this year”, he said.

 

 

According to him, registering for NIN is a national call, and all Nigerians are obliged to respond.

 

 

He said the government has provided the opportunity and the platform for enrolling into the National Identity Database, to make life better in a modern, well managed and planned manner.

 

 

“So, if the government has done so much, and all the citizens are required to do is to go out and answer the national call, does anyone have any excuse not to answer the call?”, he said.

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DSTV Subscribers Ask for Pay-as-You-View Billing System

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Digital Satellite Television (DStv) service subscribers in Nigeria are grumbling over the continued payment for services not rendered by MultiChoice, the major distance-to-home service provider in Nigeria.

 

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, DStv subscribers pleaded with the Federal Government to enact a law to compel MultiChoice to introduce “pay-as-you-view billing’’ system.

 

The subscribers said that there was need for such billing system, as it would ensure value for subscription.

 

Many of the subscribers complained of paying for what they did not get services for, saying that after several complaints, MultiChoice did not listen.

 

Mr Uzochukwu Nwafor, a businessman said that MultiChoice was not considerate on how it was handling the issue of pay-as-you-view.

 

“They need to put a regulation in place to help subscribers enjoy the money they paid to view the programmes.

 

“With that (pay-as-you-view billing), we can save some money, I see subscribing to DStv programmes as a waste of money; it does not happen abroad or even in South Africa, ‘’ he said.

 

Mr Silvanus Nwankwo, a civil servant, said that the National Assembly (NASS) was supposed to look into the operations of MultiChoice.

 

“Many companies come to Nigeria and rip us off because our policies are not being implemented.

 

“Again, DStv does not have serious competitors and that is why the company is behaving as it pleases.

 

“The Pay-As-You-Go billing that telecommunications operators offer is supposed to be applicable to DStv,’’ he said.

 

Nwankwo, however, said that the NASS should focus on the number of Nigerians that subscribed to the company’s service and insist on reducing prices of its bouquets.

 

A Hip Hop Artiste, Ishmael Lawal, popularly known as ‘King Songo’ said that MultiChoice was defrauding Nigerians, as its decoder did not work properly.

 

Lawal said that after subscription, he hardly watched the programmes because the signal was poor.

 

He also said: “The company cuts off subscriptions two days before expiration, without warning.

 

“Again, they keep repeating programmes, when one had paid to get new and trending programmes.’’

 

A source at the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), who pleaded anonymity, said that the council had already taken MultiChoice to court over the issue.

The source said that CPC received complaints from consumers against MultiChoice, among which was the refusal of the company to offer pay-as-you-view billing on both DStv and GOtv.

 

The complaints included failure to receive signal after subscription paid; subscription disconnection prior to end of billing cycle with no credit applied for paid time lost; and lack of clarity in terms and conditions.

 

Other complaints were: non-activation of free to air channels except when a consumer complained; and confusing toll-free customer care telephone channels.

 

Others complaints were: arbitrary charges; confusing billing; blocking some channels already subscribed; poor picture or signal quality with excessive and un-compensated downtime during both inclement and clear weather conditions; and lack of responsiveness.

 

Martin Maputo, the General Manager, Sales and Marketing, MultiChoice, said that for two months, the company would cut prices for its bouquets.

 

Maputo said that MultiChoice wanted subscribers to enjoy the 2018 Christmas with their families, while enjoying music, food, movies, among others.

 

According to him, this year’s Festive Together theme is: “It is a Good Time to Gather and There is no Place Like Home’’.

 

“We want families to be together and watch different programmes on our DStv Sports, Wrestling, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), Cross River Festivals, The Experience – a Church Programme with a lot of artistes playing.

 

“Others are Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols Festival, Children’s programmes and cartoons, Miss Africa Pageant and others.

 

“We want to use all these again to help raise funds for the less-privileged people, because they have no one to help them,’’ Maputo said.

 

Maputo said that the new prices for some bouquets are – HD premium normal from N11,900 to N9,900; GOtv from N6,900 to N3,200, Explora from N52,000 to N29,900 and the Premium is N38,000.

 

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N2.5Bn DSO Allegation: Our Story By Pinnacle Communications

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Dipo Onifade, chief operating officer, Pinnacle Communications

Pinnacle Communications Limited, the private licensed signal distributor for the Federal Government’s approved implementation of the Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcasting in Nigeria, has absolved the firm of alleged complicity and misapplication of money meant for the implementation of the digital switch-over (DSO) project.

The management of the company in a statement issued over the weekend, dismissed as untrue, false and unsubstantiated the media reports linking it with the allegation that N2.5 billion seed grant released to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the project had been misapplied. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) was reported s investigating the allegation.

In the statement by Dipo Onifade, chief operating officer, Pinnacle Communications stated that the firm has always been transparent in all its dealings with the NBC and it has discharged its obligations on the digital switch-over project in compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract.

A statement by the company read:

ICPC Investigates NBC, DSO :
Statement by Pinnacle Communications Limited

The Management of Pinnacle Communications Limited is constrained to issue this statement as a matter of record in response to the flurry of news reports in the media on Thursday evening copiously quoting  a statement allegedly attributed to the spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Rasheedat Okoduwa disclosing that the Commission was investigating the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission over the “misapplication of N2.5 billion seed grant released to the agency by the federal government for its digital switch-over programme” for which the Commission has so far quizzed the Director General, Dr. Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu, and other top management staff of the agency over their alleged involvements in the misapplication of the fund”.

 

In view of the references made to Pinnacle Communications Limited in connection with the investigation and the necessity of providing the correct account of the involvement of Pinnacle Communications Limited in the issues raised, which were deliberately omitted  and/or distorted in the ICPC spokesperson’s alleged statement as widely reported in the media, we hereby state as follows:

 

  1. Pinnacle Communications Limited is the only private licensed signal distributor for the Federal Government approved implementation of the Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting in Nigeria in accordance with the 2012 Government White Paper section 11.2 (a) which approved that “more than one signal distributor be licensed in addition to NTA, the public licensed signal distributor. Another signal distributor should be licensed immediately.”

 

  1. In the year 2014, Pinnacle Communications Limited emerged successful bidder out of 9 companies after a rigorous public tender and full compliance with due process. Pinnacle Communications was licensed following payment of the stipulated license fees to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), NOT NIGERIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION as stated in the alleged press release of ICPC spokesperson.

 

  1. Since then, Pinnacle Communications Limited has been a major facilitator of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) implementation process in Nigeria, notably as the broadcast signal distributor for the National Launch of the DSO in Abuja in 2016 at its state-of-the-art Broadcast Centre on Mpape Hill, performed by His Excellency, Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Company was also responsible for the Kaduna Digital Broadcast Signal Distribution Centre commissioned in 2017 by the Kaduna State Governor, His Excellency, Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai.

 

  1. This factual background to the involvement of Pinnacle Communications Limited in the DSO project in Nigeria is contrary to the alleged statements attributed to the ICPC spokesperson that the company was “fraudulently recommended to the Minister of Information and Culture for the release of N2.5 billion against the guidelines contained in the White Paper” and further reference to Pinnacle Communications as “an unqualified company.” The 2014 licensing of Pinnacle Communications in the DSO predates the appointment of the current DG of NBC in 2016.

 

  1. The DSO is all about the transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

Broadcast Engineering is a field in which Pinnacle Communications Limited has earned recognition and patronage for more than two decades of expertise and dependability of world class service and installations across Nigeria.

 

  1. Neither the DSO nor Pinnacle Communications Limited has anything to do with “migration of telephone lines from analogue to digital platforms” as the ICPC spokesperson is alleged to have stated.

 

  1. Pinnacle Communications maintain that the facts and clarifications provided above sufficiently define the context and extent of its involvement in the implementation of the DSO program in Nigeria and the nature of its working relationship with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

 

  1. While noting that the ICPC spokesperson allegedly stated that the Commission was investigating “misapplication of N2.5 billion seed grant released to the agency (NBC) by the federal government for its digital switch-over programme” we wish to clearly emphasize that Pinnacle Communications Limited has not and cannot as a licensee of NBC trespass into the statutory functions of the NBC and/or the Federal Ministry of Information on the implementation of the DSO program.

 

  1. To this extent therefore, all transactions between NBC and Pinnacle Communications have always been transparent and within the official approved operational guidelines and regulations as processed and executed by the NBC and in compliance with the terms and conditions of the license for signal distribution that Pinnacle Communications duly obtained.

 

  1. Having made all the necessary statements in response to the ICPC’s investigations and taking cognisance of the pendency of Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/779/2018 that Pinnacle Communications instituted in July 2018 in the Federal High Court, Abuja on a related matter against ICPC and 2 others,(NOT RELATED TO STOPPING ANY INVESTIGATION BY ICPC) Pinnacle Communications considers it unprofessional, ill-advised, injudicious, prejudicial and unfair for the ICPC spokesperson to make as alleged random references to disjointed portions of comprehensive submissions to its investigators, clearly skewed to portray Pinnacle Communications Limited as complicit in the alleged or any misapplication” of funds by the NBC, over which Pinnacle Communications have no responsibility or control. Pinnacle Communications challenges the ICPC spokesperson, if the alleged press release was indeed made by her, to publish the full statements made to the ICPC by Pinnacle officials.

 

  1. Moreover, if truly made, the ICPC statement went beyond mere announcement of on-going investigations into the realm of unsubstantiated incriminations in the fashion of trial-by-media that invariably paints a premature and amateur picture of guilt, prior to judicial determination.

   

  1. In the circumstance, Pinnacle Communications Limited shall refrain from further clarification of the muddled statement allegedly issued by the ICPC spokesperson in its firm belief that judicial process will provide the appropriate and fair opportunity to comprehensively and decisively prove its hard-earned reputation as a world class company that, unlike the ICPC spokesperson, upholds integrity, ethics and legality in all its transactions, in accordance with international best practices.
  2. Pinnacle Communications wishes to assure NBC, stakeholders in the DSO, its staff, international and local business associates and numerous clients that it remains committed to meeting all its obligations notwithstanding the malicious statement by the ICPC spokesperson.

DIPO ONIFADE

COO

PINNACLE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED

 

 

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ICPC Quizzes Kawu, NBC Boss, Contractor over N2.5Bn DSO Fraud

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Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commissio (ICPC), is investigating the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), over the misapplication of N2.5 billion seed grant released to the agency by the Federal Government for its digital switch-over programme.

 

ICPC has so far quizzed Dr. Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu, director general, NBC, and other top management staff of the agency over their alleged involvements in the misapplication of the fund.

 

The Presidency had in 2016, released N10 billion to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the digital switch-over programme which entails migration of telephone lines from analogue to digital platforms and a White Paper was issued directing that the process be specifically handled by government-affiliated companies.

Dr. Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu

Based on the guidelines provided by the White Paper, two companies were nominated to handle the process, one of which was ITS, an affiliate of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

 

N1.7 billion was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over. However, ICPC through investigation discovered that the process was fraught with alleged corrupt practices.

 

It was alleged that Dr. Kawu fraudulently recommended a private company called Pinnacle Communications Limited, to the Minister of Information and Culture, for the release of N2.5 billion against the guidelines contained in the White Paper.

 

The N2.5 billion was paid into the Zenith Bank account of Pinnacle Communications Limited in May/June, 2017 for the programme. The DG NBC during interactions with the Commission could not justify why the government White Paper was flouted leading to the release of money to an unqualified company.

 

However, Mr. Dipo Onifade, managing director of Pinnacle, during interrogation confirmed the release of the funds to the company.

 

He could not justify that the money was used for the purpose of digital switch-over.

 

The Commission through investigation discovered several suspicious transfers of large sums of funds from the account of the company into the bank accounts of several organisations and individuals.

 

It found out that N100 million of the fund was paid into the personal bank account of Mr. Onifade in Zenith Bank which he claimed was for legal services that he had rendered to the same Pinnacle Communications where he is employed.

 

Also investigation revealed that another N450 million was transferred into the account of Sabdat Investment Limited, a Bureau de Change, which then converted the money into dollars and handed it over to the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Mr. Lucky Omoluwa, in his Kaduna residence as he usually did with other funds.

 

Omoluwa had repeatedly failed to honour invitations from the Commission to come and explain his role in the alleged fraud.

 

He had also sought the leave of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop the investigation as well as unfreeze the Zenith Bank account of the company that was frozen by ICPC, but was however ordered by the same court to appear before ICPC for interrogation before the next adjourned date of 3rd December, 2018 before his case would be heard.

 

In compliance with the court order, Mr. Omoluwa has appeared before the Commission where he made useful statements to investigators.

 

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