Kogi Assembly drops TV and radio license bill


The Kogi State House of Assembly withdrew a bill to arrange for the collection of radio and television license tariffs in the state.

Some critical stakeholders present at the public hearing of the bill held at the Kogi State House of Assembly complex rejected it.

They called it anti-popular, anti-democratic and in contradiction with the provision of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The controversial bill stated that owners or users of devices capable of receiving broadcast and television content via satellite broadcasting platforms would pay the sum of N 2,400 per year and N 3,600 per year for private users. and commercial respectively.

Part III of the bill further explained that owners or users of devices capable of receiving broadcast and television content from telecommunications platforms must pay the sum of N 1,200 per year and N 2 400 N per year for private and commercial users respectively.

Parts of the bill read as follows: “Owners or users of devices capable of receiving content broadcast on radio and / or television from owners of platforms providing Internet services must pay the sum of one thousand two hundred naira (1,200.00) per year and two thousand four hundred naira (2,400.00) per year for (private and commercial users respectively.

“Owners or users of devices capable of receiving broadcast and / or television content in a vehicle must pay the sum of one thousand two hundred naira (1,200.00) per year.

“Owners or users of devices capable of receiving broadcast and / or television content through the digital decoder must pay the sum of five hundred naira (N500.00) per year.

“The payment of tariffs by subscribers to the satellite broadcasting service / pay television will be made at the time of subscription or renewal of the subscription via any method of payment available on the platform for collecting the tariffs of radio and television license.

“The payment of tariffs by subscribers to telecommunications services will be made by deducting one hundred naira (100.00) or two hundred naira (200.00 N) per month for individuals and commercial users respectively from their credit balance or any other payment method available on the Radio and television license price collection platform.

“The state government or its representative must serve or issue a notice of formal notice on money transfer agents setting out details of the amount of money deducted or paid by users or owners of devices capable of receiving broadcast and / or television content on their Platform.

“The notification of the request will be sent to the paying agent by electronic means, by delivery, by gluing or by sending by registered mail to its registered office and this service will be considered as sufficient delivery of the notification. “

The bill, however, sparked heated debate during the public hearing attended by civil society organizations, television and radio owners in Kogi state.

Government officials took the time to explain why the bill should go through an expedited hearing to pass.

While x-raying government presentations on the bill, participants in the public hearing took turns expressing their views on the controversial bill.

They said it was the exclusive right of the local government to deal with such matters.

Cosmos lawyer Ilemona Atabor, the lawmaker representing the Igalamela Odolu constituency who is also the chairman of the House Standing Committee on Justice and Judicial Protocol, explained why the bill was withdrawn.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the public hearing, Atabor said, “I don’t know if the bill is draconian or anti-popular. What I do know is that when the government collects taxes, it is to help and develop people. The problem we have with this particular bill and the reason why we have decided to withdraw it is due to the conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

“We know that the collection of television licenses and radio tariffs is an exclusive reserve of the local government. Now when we are all aware of this and you come up today with a bill for the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service to start collecting these fees, it will be against the Nigerian Constitution. So, we decided to frown. We know that the 1999 Constitution was not amended to allow other levels of government to collect these fees outside of local government. “

For the president of the Kogi NGO network, Idris Ozovehe Muraina, the bill should be rejected because it is based on an unconstitutional principle of transfer of powers from the local government council to the state.

“In the event that a local government council, or indeed all 21 local government councils, seeks to come to an agreement with the state government to help it collect its bills, such an agreement should be a executive agreement with clearly defined conditions and deadlines.

“It shouldn’t be a bill to be passed as a law. Adopting such an arrangement as law would require that whenever the local government seeks to change, modify or even terminate the “agreement” it would be to repeal a state law by through the State Assembly House. is to surrender their constitutional powers to the government.

“We hereby conclude and recommend that this bill be rejected as it is based on an unconstitutional principle of transfer of powers from local government councils to state government. It does not correspond to the ideals of a democratic society. We therefore urge this committee to consider our recommendations and act accordingly, ”he added.

Other speakers present were of the opinion that the bill did not correspond to the ideals of a democratic society.

This is the second time that the bill has been presented to the Assembly for a public hearing.

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