PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI SWITCH ON DIGITAL BROADCASTING IN ABUJA
- December 23, 2016
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PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI SWITCH ON
DIGITAL BROADCASTING IN ABUJA
:: BY EBUWA MAUREEN
History has again been made in the Nigerian Broadcasting Industry, as President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday December 22nd 2016, switched on Digital Broadcasting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The switch on which took place at the Pinnacle Broadcast Centre, Mpape, was performed by the His Excellency President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR ably represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, GCON,SAN, the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, other Ministers of the Federal Republic, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Chairman, House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Hon. Olusegun Dokun Odebunmi, Religious leaders, members of the Diplomatic Corps, past Directors General and Directors of the NBC, Directors General of the NTA and VON, Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, local channel owners in the FCT, CEO’s of broadcast stations, Set-Top-Box manufacturers as well as other stakeholders in the broadcasting industry.
In his speech, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, stated that he was very pleased to be a part of the historic event which was the launch of the Abuja Digital Switch Over in television broadcasting. He noted that the significance of the event could not be lost on the world as the digital switchover becomes a reality in the capital city of Africa's largest economy and most populous nation.
He added, ‘’ the successful launch of the pilot scheme in Jos in April has clearly demonstrated the gains of Digital Switchover. I am told that viewers in the pilot state are able to enjoy 15 free channels covering news, sports, music and business. The local industry is already experiencing a boost from the new vista in digital economy, with several indigenous companies now manufacturing Set-Top-Boxes. Indeed, I am told that many of the Set-Top-Boxes we are using for this Abuja switchover were produced in Nigeria’’.
President Buhari noted that the doors opened by the digital transition, would liberalize access to and increase the versatility of media information, Interactive programming, two-way data exchanges, mobile reception of video, internet and multimedia data will open up the opportunities that this will provide which are only limited by the imagination.
He restated for emphasis, that government was irreversibly committed to meeting the June 2017 deadline for the switchover in the West African sub- region and also the roll-out of the DSO in all the states of the federation. He further appealed to all state and local governments to be actively involved in the project because of the obvious advantages to our people.
The Chief Host, Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in his address welcomed all to the Abuja Digital Switch on (DSO). ‘’This is a follow up to the successful launch of the DSO in Jos earlier this year. We are now going into full gear to launch across the rest of the country and to commence switch off’’.
Alhaji Mohammed added, ‘’ Let me use this opportunity to reiterate government’s unwavering commitment to meeting the set deadline of June 2017, of transiting from the analogue to digital broadcasting in Nigeria. The DSO train that took off in Jos has now arrived in Abuja, from where it is set to move to other parts of the country unhindered’’. The Minister commended the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the driver of the process for bringing the country to this point of switching on digital transmission in the FCT.
The Hon. Minister pointed out that he believed that, ‘’together we will make Nigeria greater and better, as we democratize the access to digital broadcasting’’.
In his welcome address the DG, NBC, Mall. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu on behalf of the management and staff of the NBC welcomed the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other dignitaries to the very historic event. He stated “We have gathered here at the Pinnacle Broadcast Limited’s transmission centre, to commence the official switch on of Digital Broadcasting in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as the long journey that would switch off Analogue transmission in our country. While the story of the pilot phase of the digital switch on, commenced in Jos, Plateau State in April 2016, our Federal Capital Territory of Abuja is effectively the site of the REAL point of embarkation for this exciting new phase in broadcasting’’.
He added ‘’ I want to place on record the incredible support that the National Broadcasting Commission has received from President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure the success of the digitisation process in Nigeria. The President directed that funds seized from the Commission be promptly released to facilitate our work. Not only that, our work has taken place within the vision that President Buhari laid up for a digital economy in Nigeria. He had envisaged an economic process driven by Nigeria’s very creative young people; arguably the most dynamic and most creative on the African continent today. At the NBC, we have placed the digitisation process within the broad ambits of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision’’.
The DG, NBC stressed that the most important point that all must ruminate over, was that the Commission has a timeline of June 2017, to complete a nation-wide digital switch over, which presents a huge logistic and financial challenge during the current economic climate in the country. He noted that, ‘’our plan for success was to involve the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in the next phase of the switch on’’. Adding that in the next few months, there were plans to switch on six states, chosen from each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. He assured the President that the National Broadcasting Commission will give her very best, to drive this historic process to a successful conclusion and as well seek the continued support of President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the Nigeria Governors Forum and all other critical stakeholders for Nigeria digital switchover.
The Chairman Pinnacle Broadcast Ltd, Sir. Lucky Omoluwa in his remarks welcomed the President and all dignitaries to the Pinnacle transmission centre. He expressed his delight to have all present for the Abuja switch on. He congratulated the NBC and stakeholders in the Broadcast Industry, adding that the government has placed a lot of trust and confidence in the digitisation project which has encouraged the private sector to be involved otherwise the whole transition would have remained an illusion.
The Digiteam Chairman, Engr. Edward Amana gave an update on the journey so far of the DSO which has brought Nigerians to where we were today.
In their goodwill messages, the Chairman Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Sen. Suleiman Adokwe and his counterpart, Chairman, House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Hon. Olusegun Dokun Odebunmi congratulated NBC for a job well done. Adding that the National Assembly would give the NBC all the necessary backing needed for the digital process and just like the government of today was making effort to ensure that the dividends of democracy gets to the common man, the dividends of digitisation would also benefit the common Nigerian who will have the opportunity to view more channels at no cost.
The Vice President unveiled the commemorative plaque of the Pinnacle Broadcast Centre and switched on digital transmission in the Federal Capital Territory.