$500m NTA Loan: Nigeria Should Be Building Schools, Not Funding TV Station – Reno Omokri

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Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri has kicked against the Federal Government’s plan to borrow $500 million to digitise Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

He stated this in a Monday morning tweet while reacting to Information Minister, Lai Mohammed’s pledge to turn around NTA to enable it to compete with the likes of Cable News Network (CNN) if the loan requested by the ministry is approved.

The minister made the pledge while appearing before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans to defend the $500 million loan the ministry applied for from President Muhammadu Buhari’s $29.96b loan for funding critical infrastructure in the country.

Mohammed explained that if the fund was approved, the NTA could be upgraded to enable it to send out signals that would be at par with CNN.

“In 2014, we made $23m from music alone and about $53m in 2019 and we are looking forward to making $83m in 2025. You can imagine the kind of growth we will have if only we digitise all the NTA stations in the country,” the minister said.

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He explained that the creative industry was not just about television alone, but the film, music, fashion, and photography, adding that there was no better platform to showcase Nigeria’s talents than having a digital system.

But Omokri, who was Special Assistant to President Jonathan on New Media, lamented the number of out of school children, especially in Northern Nigeria.

He stressed that using the loan to fund education in the country would help develop human capacity in the country.

The US-based pastor said, “Nigeria has 13.5 million children out of school in Northern Nigeria. Kano alone has 2 million. Borno has 500k. Yet, Nigeria is not borrowing to build schools. Nigeria’s priority is TV station digitisation. God help Nigeria, because she can’t help herself!”

“General Buhari wants to borrow $500 million to digitalise NTA. The whole of NTA is not worth $500 million. Al Gore’s TV station, which is bigger than NTA, was sold to Al Jazeera for $500 million. It is you and your kids that will pay this dubious loan!” Omokri added.

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