In preparation to fully transit Lagos from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting on April 29, the Acting Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba has commended ITS Ltd and their partners, StarTimes, for putting in place the required transmitters.
Speaking after an inspection tour of digital transmitters at NTA Station, Channel 10, Tejuosho, Lagos on Friday, Idachaba said that the country hopes to have completed the digital rollout by 2022.
He said, “Nigeria has taken a decision that we are continuing with the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. The journey practically began in 2016 with the pilot rollout in Jos. And a few years after, we have gone into phase two. Under phase two, Lagos, Port Harcourt and other cities will be switched on to digital TV. We are going to many other cities and following the rollout time table, we hope that by the end of 2022, we would have completed the digital rollout in Nigeria.
“This visit to the NTA premises in Tejuosho is in furtherance of this objective. We are glad that ITS Ltd has already installed DVB2 technology. We have seen that the installed capacity for DTT transmission is very high. I acknowledge the role of their partners, StarTimes and I think that between NTA and StarTimes, there is a great combined effort to ensure that the rollout happens in Lagos and other cities in Nigeria quickly.
“This inspection is reassuring. It means that we have the technical and infrastructural capabilities, and are ready to kick off in Lagos on April 29.
On the availability of set-up boxes, the DG said that thirteen indigenous companies have been licensed to produce set-top boxes “because we believe that that is also another strategy to transfer technology and create opportunities for manufacturing within the Nigerian market.”
“Digital Switch Over is a revolution and it is also capital-intensive. All over the world, from America to the UK and many developed and emerging economies, the cost is massive. The federal government has also decided that the project itself, seeing how viable it is can also be self-sustained. So we are hoping that some of the component players will be able to go forward to generate their own funds to sustain the rollout but one must also acknowledge that the government has assisted greatly. Recently, the federal government approved N9.4billion for NBC to facilitate the DSO drive.
Also speaking, Alex Jian, Acting CEO, NTA-Star TV Network, said the company’s technical team is ready to support the nation in transiting fully to digital TV.
“The NBC DG has a big strategy for DSO and NTA-StarTimes will cooperate very well with ITS Ltd to support this project. Our technical team is ready. We have already prepared ourselves for this switch over all over the country.”
On StarTimes’ plan to make digital-TV more accessible to Nigerians, Alex said.
“Our mission is to provide affordable digital service nationwide. So we are providing affordable decoders and our bouquets are much more affordable. On our coverage, we have more than 60 base stations nationwide. In some base stations, we are losing money because there are a small population and few customers but we are still holding our position there. Our goal is to make everyone enjoy digital life.
“To make pay-TV more accessible, we have also created a pay-per-day module and we have implemented this for more than three years. People can pay per day to watch what they like; they don’t need to pay for the whole month because if they are not watching TV, it’s a waste of money. Therefore, our service is more affordable,” Alex said.
2021 WASSCE To Hold August/ September
The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria, says the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence in August and not May.
WAEC also debunked reports by some news platforms that it postponed the examination.
In a statement on Friday, Acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus Ojijeogu, said WAEC Nigeria Head, Patrick Areghan, was quoted out of context at a briefing on Tuesday when he announced the release of results of WASSCE for private candidate
According to Ojijeogu, Areghan said the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the academic calendars of schools, hence, it will be impossible for candidates to sit for the examination in May because most of the schools are still in their first term
The statement was titled, ‘Conduct Of WASSCE For School Candidates, 2021 In Nigeria’.
The statement said Areghan had at the Tuesday briefing said, “Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector
“The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable for the conduct of the examination will soon be released.”
The statement added, “The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education
“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.”
Lagos Eases Restrictions on Social Gatherings, Event Centres
The Lagos State Government has further eased restrictions on social gatherings and event centres across the state.
This was contained in a press statement titled ‘Lagos State Government eases restrictions on social and event centres’, on Friday.
The statement was signed by Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile Yusuff, and the Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, after due consultation and deliberations with relevant “stakeholders and MDA’s including The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Lagos State Safety Commission has approved the further easing of social centres across the State with immediate effect,” it added.
Meanwhile, Akinbile-Yusuff and Mojola have issued new guidelines for social/event facilities reopening.
While stating that COVID-19 protocols must be complied with, the officials said that “any violation of this protocol shall attract fines and penalties in line with the Lagos State Infectious Diseases Control Regulation 2020”.
Some of the guidelines stated that event centres must register before reopening and event duration should not exceed a maximum period of six hours.
The guidelines read in part, “All event centres must hold a valid license of The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event center in the State.
“Safety Marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.
“Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50 per cent of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein Occupancy Limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly pasted at the entrance of the event hall.
“Maximum allowable capacity for Event Centers irrespective of occupancy limit is 500 people. Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event.
“Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be six people on a table of 10 persons.
“Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of six hours.
“Event center owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff.”
UK Court Bans THISDAY Editor and Arise TV Chairman, Obaigbena From Serving As Director Of Any Company For 7 Years
According to the court, Obaigbena made efforts to clear some payments, but there were still large sums that remained outstanding.
The United Kingdom has disqualified the founding Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Media, ARISE News Channel and ARISE Magazine, Nduka Obaigbena, from serving as a director of any company in the country for seven years.
The application for disqualification was made under Section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 and arose from the compulsory liquidation of Arise Networks Ltd of which Obaigbena was the sole director since its incorporation on October 30, 2012.
According to the judgement, published on BAILII, the company had zero turnovers and as of December 31, 2013, it had recorded losses of £3,854,112 and debts of £1,545,883.
Due to foreign exchange restrictions by the Nigerian government in September 2014, it was difficult to “transfer necessary funding to ARISE”.
In December 2014, the company had expense debts of more than £3 million. The debt owed to creditors led to increased pressure from late 2014 onwards due to the company’s inability to pay off its debts.
A paragraph of the judgement partly read: “As of 31 December 2014, the total losses were £12,922,174, with trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) of £3,737,445 and associates being £14,407,929. By 31 December 2015, the total losses were £24,913,106 with the trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) in the sum of £5,635,596 and associates being £19,681,779. By 22 April 2016, the total losses were £25,671,167, trade creditors (which includes those working for the company) £5,850,730 and associated companies £20,313,691. The trade creditors rose by £2,113,285 even taking into account that certain liabilities have been discharged. The associated companies’ debt during this period rose by in excess of £5 million.”
An email quoted in the judgement read, “Hi Kevin/Nduka, Happy anniversary, I have been working under contract for six months at Arise. I’ve been paid one month’s money. February’s money is three months late. Still nothing, when will I get what is owed?”
According to the court, Obaigbena made efforts to clear some payments, but there were still large sums that remained outstanding. With no certainty of when any of the payments would be made, the court took into account that it did not consider the case of dishonesty but rather unreliability.
“However, this does not mean that the case is any less serious. The public interest is served in this case, in my judgement by disqualifying Mr Obaigbena for a period of 7 years,” the judgement read.
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