Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the digital switch over from analogue to digital system of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) will soon will be commissioned in phases.
Speaking during assessment of operations for commencement of digital switch over at the NTA transmitting station located at Ganmo, a suburb of Ilorin metropolis on Friday, the minister said that the adopted measure was due to the huge capital outlay of the project.
The minister, who was accompanied by the Chairman, Digital Switch Over and Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Eddy Amanan and Moddibo Kawu, respectively, said that “for the whole country to be connected, we are going to do this thing in phases. The project requires huge capital and Nigeria is just coming out of recession.
So the government has to prioritise its programmes. So national digital swicth-over will come in phases.
“At the moment we have done Abuja and Jos then we are going to do six in the next couple of months. When we finish that set, we will look at Nigerian map to know where next to go, but at every point in time we will do one in every geo-political zone of the country”, he said.
On the state of readiness of the NTA Ilorin, the minister said: “We are ready to take off in Ilorin. We have seen the installation. What was lacking has been rectified. Right now we are transmitting 27 channels plus NTA and once we decide on the set date, the channels will be made available to the coverage areas of this transmitter.
“We require a total of three sets to be able to effectively cover the whole of Kwara state. And the plan is that we will replicate similar structure what in Ilorin in Patigi and Kaiama. “Unfortunately, Kaiama has a bit of a setback. The mast there fell and it will take awhile for us to rebuild the mast. When Patigi is up and Kaiama is up, confidently we can say the whole of Kwara state will be covered and there will be spill over to the neighbouring state of Niger. So that is how ready we are.
“Right now those who have these set up boxes are receiving the 26 channels because for now Kwara TV is not yet on board. The official launching will come later.”
On the market price of the set-up boxes, he said that “the market situation will determine the prices of those boxes when they are launched, but some lucky ones will get it at the rate of N1500.”
“We are here to come and have a first hand inspection of the level of readiness for the digital switch over of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Kwara state. I am sure, you have heard, over the last couple weeks cacophony of messages as to the readiness or otherwise, the standard of the station in Ilorin,” he added.