Following the current effects of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic on global economy particularly, Nigeria’s, the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA), has warned that save for a special bailout, member stations will be left with no choice but to shutdown operations soon.
This is as it lamented the adverse effects such shutdowns will have on the livelihoods of forty thousand employees spread across forty stations in the region, as well as its 80 million audience base who rely on them for information on developments especially, during this period.
In a statement signed by its chairman executive council of, Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan on Thursday, NBMOA, while noting its role in accentuating sensitization campaigns against insecurity and indeed the Coronavirus at no cost, stated that it has written to relevant authorities to inform them of the challenges and the need for a special financial intervention.
The statement reads in part: “Hard hit by low income generation as a result of the current economic downturn and exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has paralysed businesses across the world and indeed Nigeria, private owned broadcast stations in northern Nigeria have reached a point where our operations may completely shut down any time soon unless a quick intervention comes to our rescue.
“This may affect about 40 radio and television stations spread across the northeast, northwest and north central, who collectively employ about 40,000 personnel in diverse fields such as engineering, journalism, administration, marketing. The broadcast stations, under the umbrella of the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association, formed in 2014, have a combined audience base in excess of 80 million, which is about 85% of the population of Northern Nigeria.
“The NBMOA has written to the relevant authorities, including the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) to explain the fast deteriorating financial and operational condition of private broadcast stations in the region with a view to seeking assistance by way of special intervention and different forms of patronage in programmes sponsorships and advertising.
“Indeed, even before the advent of the COVID-19 scourge, NBMOA member stations have operated on meagre revenues due to the absence of big industry in the region as we all shared from a small basket of advertising revenue that occasionally trickled in from Lagos based advertising agencies; alas, as it is, even agency revenue has been eclipsed by the effects of the COVID-19 on our national economy. We are unarguably in a precarious situation. Thus, we are in need of HELP!
“We have also been in the forefront of accentuating sensitisation campaigns against terrorism, banditry and kidnappings at all three tiers of administration in the country, as well as consistently broadcasting contents in support of publicity efforts of government on the COVID-19 at no costs.
“We remain committed to the time honoured function of informing and educating society, and keeping diverse audiences abreast of government policies at all times, more so during this most trying period that requires broader collective efforts in taming the dreaded COVID-19 Pandemic from further harm to our citizens and to our nation’s socio-economic life.