The Presidency has suspended the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, Saturday PUNCH report.
Sources in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said Modibbo reportedly got the suspension letter within the week but had been battling to have it reversed.
“I have confirmed from the relevant department, it is true that the DG of NBC, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, was ordered to be suspended by the President (Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) following series of petitions and allegations against him,” a source in the SGF office stated.
Yet, another source said he was asked to “step aside” following investigation of the petitions against him.
The suspension came many months after an ongoing prosecution of Kawu by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission for alleged corruption.
Consequently, the Director (Broadcast Monitoring), Armstrong Idachaba, was said to have been directed to act pending the outcome of the case.
When Saturday PUNCH visited the NBC on Friday, the issue was being discussed in hushed tones among staff members.
But when contacted, the spokesperson for NBC, Ekanem Antia, told our correspondent that he would not speak on the issue as according to him, he did not have details of the allegation.
“I am not aware (of it), as we speak now. I don’t have any document on my table to confirm (it). But we will issue a statement if at all it is true. The office is still working; we are all in the office. Everybody is in their department,” he said.
Several calls later put across to him didn’t go through as his telephone line indicated that it was switched off.
Last year, a civil rights organisation under the aegis of Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, said it had made a fresh discovery of 16 illegal slots of radio licences approved by the NBC DG.
The organisation had alleged that while six slots were for his private company, Word, Sound and Vision Multimedia Limited, another 10 were approved for companies which did not apply or were not on the list approved by Buhari.
The chairman of CACOBAG, Alhaji Toyin Raheem, who raised the issue in a statement issued in Abuja, claimed that a former SGF was one of the 10 beneficiaries of the radio licences recently doled out by NBC.
The CSO asked the Presidency to direct anti-corruption agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and ICPC to investigate its findings.
But Antia had said the allegations were not new as the same group had petitioned ICPC.
The ICPC had urged the Federal Government to suspend Kawu and 32 other public officers/civil servants undergoing corruption trial at the time.
The commission had arraigned Kawu and two others, Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa, on alleged N2.5bn fraud.
They are being prosecuted on 12 counts for allegedly conspiring with one another to use the position of Kawu to confer a corrupt advantage on Omoluwa, his friend and associate, for which they pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
The anti-graft agency also charged Kawu for allegedly deceiving Mohammed to sign the deal.
The embattled NBC boss allegedly asked Mohammed to approve payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle Communications Limited owned by Omoluwa as “Seed Grant” under the Digital Switch-Over Programme of the Federal Government.
The suspended DG has however denied the allegations.