The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says Nigeria’s switch over from analogue to digital television is a landmark achievement.
Mohammed said this on Saturday in Jos while inaugurating the pilot phase of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) that would start the digitisation process in broadcasting.
“Today, history is being made, both in Nigeria as a country and in the city of Jos. After 12 years, the country began the process.
“What we have dreamt of, imagined, attempted and what even seemed impossible at a stage, is now happening right before our very eyes.
“Nigeria is transiting from analogue to digital broadcasting.
“The journey that started in 2004, when the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council adopted Resolution 1185 on transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting, is finally nearing its destination,”
The minister noted that three events were significant in the history of television in the country.
He recalled that in 1959, the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation WNBC inaugurated the first Television Station in Africa, and in 1976, the first colour Television was switched on in Jos.
Mohammed said 40 years after the colour Television was inaugurated, the country was transiting from analogue to digital in the same Jos.
“This is a monumental event, because with the switch over, we are revolutionising the broadcast landscape and architecture, as well as the local, state and national economy.
“More importantly, we are democratising the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed.
“This is simply because with what we are doing today, the average Jos person does not need to pay subscription to watch the best news and entertainment from around the world.
“Compared to yesterday when the average Jos person can only watch lawyers Television channels at best, he can now watch fifteen (15) Television channels, local and international news as well as local and foreign entertainment,’’ he said.
On other importance of DSO, Mohammed said that through the information service, viewers could also get news about government activities without going on the Internet.
Also while watching a particular channel, they could know the other programmes available on that channel, using the EPG, or Electronic Programme Guide.
“In terms of the economy, all licensed Set Top Box manufacturers have been mandated to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria to produce the boxes locally, after importing the first set of boxes.
“This will create massive employment and also ensure the transfer of technology for our people.
“Also, due to availability of many channels, there will be an astronomical increase in the need for content, and this will fire the creative ability of our youths,” he said.
The minister said the switch over would also become the much-needed panacea to the menace of piracy dogging the music and movie industries.
He said the musicians and movie producers would be able to release their works directly to the platform, where they could be purchased, thus wrong-footing those who had been pirating their works.
According to him, the transition will trigger a chain of retailers and installers of the Set Top Boxes, with a massive impact on the local economy.
While thanking the Plateau Government for its support, he called on the local and state governments to help by buying the boxes for their people at subsidised rate by the Federal Government.
NAN reports that the event was attended by the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, a former deputy governor, Paulen Tallen and major stakeholders in the broadcast industry.