Nigeria: FG flags off 1,000 villages satellite TV project
18 January 2019
The Federal Government on Monday flagged-off the 1,000 Villages Satellite Television (TV) Project in Kpaduma village of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mahammed who inaugurated the project said the project was one of the “Ten Major China-Africa Cooperation Plans” that were announced by President Xi Jinping of China at the 2015 Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He explained that the initiative was targetted at 10,000 villages in African countries, with Nigeria having the lion share of 1,000 villages.
The Minister who commended the Chinese government for making the project a reality, said it would complement efforts by the Buhari administration to democratice access to information and entertainment in the country.
He said: ” Under the project, each of the 1,000 carefully-chosen villages in Nigeria will receive 2 sets of solar powered projector television systems and 1 set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal system.
“In addition, 20 recipient families with TV in each village will be provided with 20 sets of direct broadcast satellite terminal system free of charge. It is worth noting that viewers in each village provided with the projector TV system will enjoy 21 satellite channels free of charge, while each of the 20 recipient families will have access to 33 satellite TV channels free of charge for two months.
“Thereafter, they can continue to enjoy access to the 33 channels by paying N900 per month, or enjoy limited access without payment.
“While this project will undoubtedly strengthen the already very cordial China-Nigeria relations, it will also complement the ongoing efforts of the Buhari Administration to democratize access to information and entertainment in the country.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria is currently implementing its Digital Switch Over (DSO) for television to build what will be Africa’s biggest and most lucrative Free-To-Air Television platform,
“Since rolling out in Jos, Plateau State, in April 2016, we have extended digital television to the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu States, and we are set to speed up the roll-out pace
“Wth access to more than 30 digital channels, with crystal clear pictures and Hi-Fidelity audio, the DSO roll-out brings the benefits of digital television to all households. We call this the democratization of information and entertainment.”
The Minister noted that the project flag off came at a better period as the nation prepared for a general election,adding that “In just a little over one month, Nigerians will be voting in the 2019 general elections.
They need access to information now, more than at any other time, to know about the over 70 political parties that will be participating in the elections as well as about their various candidates”.
The Minister charged the implementing agency (Star Times) for the project to expidite action on the installation of the satellite TV systems in the selected villages across the country ahead of the elections.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian said the implementation of the projects would ensure consolidation on the cordial relationships existing between Nigeria and China, adding the projects would add value to the lives of people living in the benefitting communities.
He said while new jobs would be created in the villages for the rural dwellers, the rural people would also be informed and entertained by the satellite television systems which had scores of channels at affordable cost.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes, Mr Justin Zhang said: “Some of the work we have done in the villages include installation of 2 solar power projector TVs for the community, 1 32’ digital TV set with solar system, 20 Satellite dish and decoders where they can watch more than 100 international and local channels. The 2 solar powered projector TVs and 32’ digital TV are for public use and free of charge.
“During the course of this project, we also created jobs. Many Nigerians from various villages have been trained on how to recharge, operate and provide the required maintenance support for all the products installed. We also plan to make some of them dealers as time goes on.
“For us at StarTimes, it makes us truly happy as a company and a people to be able to work together successfully with both the Chinese and Nigerian government, and to put long lasting smiles on the faces the children and adults that would benefit from the exposure they get from the access to satellite TV.”