Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, says Nigeria risks sanctions by international regulatory bodies, if the country fails to meet the June 2017 deadline for digital broadcasting migration.
The Minister revealed this weekend in an interview session with journalists at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 held in Lagos by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation.
“Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries have up to 2017 June to comply. Non-compliance will lead to lack of protection for all our channels and there will be a lot of interference on our channels,” he said at the forum.
Nigeria is working round the clock to ensure successful switch over to the digital terrestrial television to avoid the consequences that will follow failure to do so, the Minister said.
“Here in Nigeria, we are working round the clock to ensure that we meet the ECOWAS set deadline,” Mohammed said saying that “we are fully aware of the economic and social dividends that broadcasting has brought to our society.”
He further said that “so far, it is clear that in most African countries, migrating from the analogue to the digital television broadcasting has been a rather slow process. The challenges have been many and similar, financial, technical and political, among others.”
As for the Minister, “we are putting necessary facilities in place to make digital broadcasting successful, including subsidy and licensing.”
The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code is quite clear on the issue of local content, he added stressing that there is a standing code to regulate broadcast media content with the transition.
While congratulating the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization(CTO) for organizing the event, the Minister said that “the Federal Government of Nigeria is proud to collaborate with CTO, more so, as it celebrates its 115th year anniversary. I wish the CTO a successful anniversary.”
In her welcome address, Mrs Alheri Saidu, acting Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said that the broadcast industry regulator does not see the switch over as migration, rather it is seen “as transition.”
The NBC said that “it is not migration. We are not going back. It is transition. Once we transit, we are transiting. So we in NBC, we have no intention of migrating, we are transiting. For after our successful DSO in June 2017, we are not going back,” she added.
She however expressed appreciation to the CTO for organszing the event and thanked Mr Shola Taylor, the Secretary-General of CTO, for his contribution towards the Nigeria’s development in the broadcast industry.