The ravaging effect of coronavirus has hit the media industry in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
Private-owned broadcast stations in northern Nigeria say they may have to take uncomfortable decisions by the end of April.
On Friday, the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA) raised the alarm in a statement made available to DAILY POST.
Signed by Ahmed Ramalan, Chairman of Atar Communication, owners of LibertyTV/Radio, the body said 40 radio, television stations and approximately 40,000 workers have been affected by the COVID-crisis.
NBMOA, formed in 2014, has a combined audience base of 80 million or 85 percent of the population of North.
Ramalan expressed fear that the stations may have no choice but to lay off some of their staff if the pandemic continues to bite.
“Even before the advent of the COVID-19 scourge, NBMOA member stations have operated on meagre funds. Agency revenue has been eclipsed by the effects of the COVID-19 on our national economy. We are unarguably in a precarious situation.
“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,” Ramalan added.
In many states and Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, some citizens have been told that they would not get salaries until the work resumed.
The situation has been compounded by the poor handling of cash, food distribution and other palliatives by the Buhari administration and state governments.
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