Buhari: Nigeria will Meet June 2017 Digital Switchover Deadline

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the federal government desire to meet the June 2017 deadline that requires Nigeria, along with all ECOWAS member countries, to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2017.

 The president made this commitment yesterday at the formal launch of the Abuja Digital Switch Over (DSO) in broadcasting at the Pinnacle Broadcast Centre in Mpape.

Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said apart from meeting the date, the federal government would also ensure that DSO impact was felt by all states of the federation.

 Nigeria and other ECOWAS nations have ratified the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Treaty, and the country risks being cut off from broadcast line if it fails to move to digital by the deadline.

 But assuring of Nigeria’s readiness to comply with ITU treaty, Buhari expressed delight that technology was transforming the lives of Nigerians in a new and dynamic way. He said digital revolution and High Definition (HD) have redefined the effect of television on the populace.

 The president, who declared the centre open, also lauded the production of the Set-Top Box (decoders) in Nigeria, describing the moment as a very exciting time in job creation, entrepreneurship and IT development in the country.

 He said the launch would boost advertising and sales revenues from broadcasting while the rub on effects on the entertainment industry will stem the menace of piracy.

Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Lucky Omoluwa, the signal distributor, said transmission of digital contents would lead to transfer and acquisition of skills and creation of jobs for Nigerian youths.
Omoluwa said the groundbreaking launch in Abuja would serve as a platform for digitalising Nigeria by next year.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the digital rollover would help diversify Nigeria’s economy through proper harnessing of its talent and creative human and natural resources which are second to none in Africa.

The minister listed core consumer benefits from the digital switch over to include access to 30 free digital channels that will provide unbeatable viewing contents on news, sports, entertainment, politics and other activities.

He also said Nigeria would reap from the tens of thousands of jobs from technical, production and manufacturing opportunities of decoders, adding that the country can become the supplier of the equipment to all West African countries.