Nigeria inaugurates Presidential committee on Digitization

By Solomon Chung, Abuja

The Nigerian Government has charged the Presidential Committee on Digital Switch Over to ensure that the 2017 deadline remains sacrosanct and met without hindrance.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed disclosed this when he inaugurated the committee in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Minister re-emphasized the need to ensure the smooth switch over of broadcast from analogue to digital.

“The trend all over the world is the digital migration and Nigeria has no option than to join the moving train. It gives a clearer, crisp and sharper content and also creates a huge economy. With the DSO, we are going to have about 30-40 clear free to air channels,” the Minister said.

He stressed that the DSO would allow the Television stations to focus on one area, which is content creation and programming, other outfits would take care of the signal and distribution.

Another vital issue was the spectrum allocation. He said there would be a lot of spectrums to be freed up for other purposes, once we get the DSO come to reality.

“If we don’t join the movement, we won’t be protected from interference. Without DSO, the reception of our broadcast would be very poor,” he emphasised.

Set-up boxes
He told the committee that the ECOWAS members states have agreed to work and achieve the 2017 deadline, also that uniform equipments have been agreed to be adopted and the exchange of programming would be experienced in the process.

In view of that, he said Nigeria can also export the set-up boxes to other neighboring countries since we are going to be manufacturing them locally.

He gave reasons for choosing Jos, the Plateau State capital as the venue for the pilot scheme.
According to him, “Jos was the city where the first black and white Television was converted to color successfully. Jos also has an example of National, Regional and Private Television and is also a cosmopolitan city, we believe once it is successful in Jos, it will be elsewhere.”

He told the committee that the idea behind setting it up was to share ideas, challenges and experience in respect of the DSO. It was on that note that he officially inaugurated the committee.

The committee is made of all stakeholders involved in the DSO arrangement.

They include; the Nigerian Custom Service, the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigeria Communication Commission, the National Broadcasting Commission and other private outfits involved in DSO arrangement.