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ICPC/DSO: Interrogating the Investigator

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BY HAMID HENDRIX

Actions are governed by intentions.

 

This a very profound principle of divine justice in Islam which reflects the exalted insight into the essence of determining the true nature of the overt action of human beings from the inner impulses of the mind, known only to the Omniscient,  rather than the “obvious” outward perceptions of the action itself.

 

This underscores the sanctity of divine judgment.

 

However, at our level as mere mortals, it often does not require divine wisdom to decipher the link between human action and the intended purpose of the action because of our imperfection.

 

The same applies to the actions of our corporate entities which are, after all, imprinted with our inherent weaknesses.

 

A very revealing episode that captures this element of transparent treachery in the activities of human institutions ostensibly established to uphold rectitude and dispense justice has manifested in the recent outrageous outing of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) through an update on an investigation into an alleged “misapplication” of N2.5 billion by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in respect of payment to Pinnacle Communications Limited under the Digital Switch Over (DSO) from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasts.

 

The statement dished out by the ICPC’s now thoroughly thrashed spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, turned out to be the most disastrous display of the damning disparity between outward action and ulterior motive by a government agency that was established purposely to be “independent” of undue influences in combating corrupt practices in public institutions.

 

Barely 24 hours after its self-indicting statement went public, the ICPC plunged from the heights of institutional probity to the valleys of villainous vendors of “corrupt practices and other related offences”

The ensuing barrage of bricks and bats buried the ICPC/Okoduwa howler under a scandalous summation of terminological inexactitudes, unpardonable factual errors and even unbelievable fabrications of fictitious events by a flabbergasted Pinnacle Communications Limited, an embarrassed NBC (renamed “Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation” by ICPC) and an array of dumbfounded commentators, turning the ICPC into an absurd caricature of a corrective commission, caught-in-print in the dock of public ignominy with speechless surrender.

 

Outside its quarantined quarters, there were deafening denunciations of the apparent hijacking of its investigative independence by a subterranean “Disgruntled Saboteurs’ Organization” viciously determined to destroy and pull-down the high-definition successes of Pinnacle Communications Limited and the NBC in turning the jinxed serially-postponed Digital Switch Over(DSO) from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasts into progressively unfolding impressive reality.

 

This disturbing attempt by unscrupulous private interests to misuse a government agency such as the ICPC to sabotage a strategic national project like the DSO is yet another diabolical dimension to the vulnerability of important public institutions and their top officials to the deeply embedded cankerworm of corruption and a veritable vindication of President Buhari’s unyielding focus and determination to fight it on all fronts.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, there is no way for the ICPC to be so pathetically uninformed, dis-informed and misguided on an issue as straight forward and well-publicized as the DSO NIGERIA project as the Okoduwa statement exposed if it had genuinely and independently carried out investigations into the project in general and the payment of N2.5 billion in particular which was so obviously the bone of dubious contention.

 

How could it not have known the correct meaning of NBC, for example, and be referring to the defunct Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, long-forgotten precursor of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria?

 

How could ICPC advertize its stark ignorance of the basic technical subject of the DSO being migration from analogue to digital terrestrial TELEVISION signal broadcasting and not TELEPHONE as its Okoduwa “fake news” declared? How could the ICPC which is supposedly so far gone in its investigations into DSO, NBC and Pinnacle Communications Limited, issue a public statement whose references are replete with fiction, fallacious figments of deliberate distortion and misrepresentation and other barely concealed prejudicial parodies of the well-documented pivotal and progressive role of Pinnacle Communications Limited in most eventful last four years of the chequered history of the DSO project?

 

Arguably, the most despicable aspect of the ICPC’s stupefying statement on so-called investigations into “misapplication” of N2.5 billion by the NBC is the manipulation of the narrative from update on investigation to speculative indictment by premeditated references to selected portions of “findings”.

 

Apart from the ICPC’s uncharacteristic recourse to EFCC-style trial-by-media which must be linked to the loss of “independence”, this again raises questions about the sources of the litany of lies and other misleading contents of the Okoduwa statement since neither NBC nor Pinnacle Communications Limited could have been the source.

 

In the corrective context of the Buhari Administration’s anti-corruption crusade, the mind-boggling matters arising from the ICPC/Okoduwa Statement constitute a rude awakening to the infiltration and hijacking of a major “fixer” in its arsenal by the “Disgruntled Saboteurs Organization”, targeting the Digital Switch Over, one of its high definition corrective achievements.

 

The loud silence of Madam Okoduwa and the ICPC over this scandalous case of collective culpability in out-sourcing its strategic core mandate to unpatriotic enemies of progress demands a drastic and decisive dose of defensive action, not just to save the DSO NIGERIA project but also to salvage the ICPC, now the weakest link in the war against corrupt practices, in action as well as intention.

HAMID HENDRIX, PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR, WROTE FROM ABUJA

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DSTV Insists on Monthly Contract, Rules Out Pay-As-You-View System

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Multichoice, owners of DSTV would not operate the “pay as you view’’ tariff system in Nigeria, according to Martin Mabutho, chief customer officer of Multichoice.

 

Mabutho’s stance came against the backdrop of persistent clamour by the company’s subscribers for the introduction of a pay as you view tariff plan in the country.

 

“We are not going to introduce pay as you view system. Our contract with our suppliers is on month to month basis,’’ he said.

“The issue of not introducing pay as you view remains. Nothing will change it. We are not going to do it. Our contract with our suppliers is on month to month basis. The channels do not belong to Multichoice. What we do is to slash our prices in half to make our customers enjoy our services.’’

 

Mabutho said Multichoice would continue to give acquisition promos or loyalty promos to customers every quarter as incentives.

 

Customers pay on month to month basis to enjoy the services of the company whether channels are watched or not. Multichoice opened shop in Nigeria in 1994.

 

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FG Launches Project To Provide Satellite TV to 1,000 Villages

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has launched the 1,000 Villages Satellite TV Project, which is part of the Chinese government-sponsored ‘Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages Project’.

Launching the project at a ceremony in Kpaduma village, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Monday, the Minister recalled that Chinese President Xi Jiping announced the ‘Access To Satellite TV For 10,000 African Villages’ during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said under the project, each of the 1,000 carefully-chosen villages in Nigeria will receive 2 sets of solar powered projector television systems and 1 set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal system.

Alhaji Mohammed also said 20 recipient families with TV in each village will be provided with 20 sets of direct broadcast satellite terminal system free of charge, adding that viewers in each village provided with the projector TV system will enjoy 21 satellite channels free of charge, while each of the 20 recipient families will have access to 33 satellite TV channels free of charge for two months.

After the expiration of the two months, he said, viewers can continue to enjoy access to the 33 channels by paying N900 per month, or enjoy limited access without payment.

The Minister said the project complements the efforts of the Buhari Administration at democratizing access to information and entertainment through the Digital Switch Over (DSO) for television which has now been rolled out in the several states and the FCT.

He urged the satellite TV implementation agency, StarTimes, to expedite the installation of the TV satellite system to cover the entire country in order to give the people opportunity to be informed on the policies and programmes of the candidates for the various elective positions in the 2019 general elections.

“The 1,000 villages project could not have come at a better time. In just a little over one month, Nigerians will be voting in the 2019 general elections. They need access to information now, more than at any other time, to know about the over 70 political parties that will be participating in the elections as well as about their various candidates,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

The Minister commended the Chinese government for the project which, he said, will undoubtedly strengthen the already very cordial China-Nigeria relations.

In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, who pledged the commitment of China to implementing the outcome of the FOCAC, said Nigeria and China are working closely to ensure access to information through television and satellite technology.

“StarTimes is now working to ensure access and besides access, China and Nigeria are also working very closely on TV and on Satellite. We are building the Made-in-Nigeria TV sets,” he said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes, Mr. Justin Zhang, said the implementation of the project will create more jobs as Nigerians across the 1,000 villages have been trained on how to install, recharge and operate the Satellite TV system.

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Broadcaster Abducted in Calabar over 2019 Elections Comments

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Peter Etim, popularly called Petex, a broadcaster with the state-owned Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, (CRBC), has been abducted in Calabar.

 

Irene Igbo, DSS and PPRO of the state police command,said they were aware of the kidnap, and were working to establish contact with the kidnappers.

 

The incident was said to have happened early in the morning when the victim was about to leave his house to his work place.

 

Comrade Victor Ndu, chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists in Cross River State, has condemned the kidnap of the ace broadcaster and called for immediate release of Petex.

 

Ndu called on the security agencies in the state to wake up to their duties.

 

It is suspected that Petex may have made a political statement that was not palatable.

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