The Federal Government of Nigeria has finalized plans to set up about 800 Community Radio Stations which will soon commence transmissions in various parts of the country. This is to ensure that information on programmes and policies of the Federal Government get to the rural communities.
Speaking during briefing and strategy meeting organised by the Democratic Governance for Development Project, in collaboration with the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition, Director General of National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri yesterday said the community radio stations would start transmission before the second quarter of this year.
According to Omeri, setting up community radio stations was the result of agitations by people in rural communities in different parts of the country.
He also said that establishing the community radio stations became necessary to promote a vibrant culture and for the agency to discharge its mandate adequately, adding that it would break media monopoly in information dissemination.
According to him, the stations will serve geographic or territorial communities with various interests and restore the citizens’ integrity, promote transparency, accountability and cost effectiveness, stressing that unless the citizens understood policies and programmes of government, such policies stood the risk of failure.
The NOA DG said President Goodluck Jonathan was committed to the issuance of licenses for community radio stations and that he was optimistic the license would be granted within the second quarter of the year.
Omeri, who said that within five months in office, he established FM radio station that transmits within the secretariat assured that the agency in setting up the community radio stations would not go against the code of ethics and guidelines to be presented by the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC.
In his remarks at the workshop, the Minister of Information and Communication, Mr. Labaran Maku represented by the Director, Research and Policy, Mr. Joseph Obodeze said it was unacceptable to the present administration that in some parts of the North, they do not get radio stations from the country instead stations in Cameroon.
The minister said that he was in support of the workshop and that it is imperative that community radio should spring up pointing out that radio had remained a powerful tool in disseminating information to the people.[VN]