Minister launches project on satellite TV for 1,000 villages …Says project to strengthen Nigeria-China relations

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Minister launches project on satellite TV for 1,000 villages

.Says project to strengthen Nigeria-China relations

 By Joel ThankGod (Abuja)

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
(second from right); The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian (second from left); Chief Executive Officer of NTA-StarTimes, Mr. Justin Zhang (extreme left) and the Director General of NTA, Mallam Mohammed (extreme left), at the launch of the Access to Satellite TV for 1,000 villages in Nigeria in Kpaduma, FCT, on yesterday:

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has launched 1,000 Villages Satellite TV Project, which is part of the Chinese government-sponsored ‘Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages.

Launching the project at a ceremony in Kpaduma village, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, yesterday, the Minister recalled that Chinese President Xi Jiping announced ‘Access To Satellite TV For 10,000 African Villages’ during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said under the project, each of the 1,000 carefully-chosen villages in Nigeria would receive two sets of solar powered projector television systems and one set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal system.

The Minister also said 20 recipient families with TV in each village would  be provided with 20 sets of direct broadcast satellite terminal system free of charge, adding that viewers in each village provided with the projector TV system would enjoy 21 satellite channels free of charge, while each of the 20 recipient families would have access to 33 satellite TV channels free of charge for two months.

After the expiration of the two months, he said, viewers could continue to enjoy access to the 33 channels by paying N900 per month, or enjoy limited access without payment.

The Minister said that the project complements effort by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration at democratising access to information and entertainment through Digital Switch Over, DSO, for television, which has now been rolled out in several States and the FCT.

He urged the satellite TV implementation agency, StarTimes, to expedite installation of the TV satellite system to cover the entire country, in order to give the people opportunity to be informed on policies and programmes of candidates for various elective positions in 2019 general elections.

“The 1,000 villages project could not have come at a better time. In just a little over one month, Nigerians would be voting in the 2019 general elections. They need access to information now, more than any other time, to know about over 70 political parties that would participate in elections, as well as various candidates,” the Minister pointed out.

The Minister commended Chinese government for the project which, he said, would undoubtedly strengthen the already very cordial China-Nigeria relations.

In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, who pledged the commitment of China to implementing the outcome of FOCAC, said Nigeria and China are working closely to ensure access to information through television and satellite technology.

“StarTimes is now working to ensure access and besides access, China and Nigeria are also working very closely on TV and Satellite technology. We are building Made-in-Nigeria TV sets,” he said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes, Mr. Justin Zhang, said implementation of the project would create more jobs, as Nigerians across the 1,000 villages have been trained on how to install, recharge and operate the Satellite TV system.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, (middle); The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, (right); and the Director General of NTA, Mallam Yakub Ibn Mohammed
(left), at the launch of the Access to Satellite TV for 1,000 villages in Nigeria in Kpaduma, FCT, yesterday:
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