The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has been criticised by Nigerians, after he made public his intention to secure a loan that would help upgrade the nation’s “broadcasting infrastructure”, and also NTA, to the likes of the American Cable News Network, CNN.
The Minister disclosed his intention when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, chaired by Clifford Ordia, to defend the borrowing plan of his Ministry.
The Ministry is applying for a $500 million loan, as part of the $29.96 billion loan requested by President Muhammadu Buhari, in the External Borrowing Plan (2016 to 2018), for infrastructure development in the country.
Reports gathered, revealed that the Minister stated that if the funds are approved, NTA could be upgraded, to enable it send out signals that would be at par with CNN, “because we have the manpower and the technology”.
The Minister trended on Twitter, on Monday, as he received a lot of backlash from Nigerian Twitter users.
Here are some reactions:
“Nigeria has wasted money on a lot of things since 1960, but if the $500 million loan for NTA goes through, it would rank as the top 5 most wasteful use of money ever in the history of television. NTA is dead, let it die. A poor country like Nigeria, has better use for half a billion dollars.
“What do you need $500 million for at NTA? To make the production look better, so that videos of poverty can become clearer, and Nigerians can better see those who ought to fix the problems laugh harder, with their teeth looking whiter and their agbadas more colourful? Fear God.
“If Lai Mohammed wants NTA to compete with CNN, privatise it. CNN does not belong to the American government. Unshackle NTA from Startimes, privatise it and focus on endeavours that directly lift Nigerians out of poverty. Enough of this jamboree style of governance”, wrote J. J. Omojuwa.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Lai Mohammed should fear God. Haba! $500 million (N180 billion) can build 10 World-Class Cancer Hospitals. It can create at least 25,000 SMEs, that will improve the lives of at least 5 million families. Why does he need a loan of $500 million (N180 billion), to digitise NTA. What concerns you and I with NTA?”
“Uncle Lai Mohammed, Why should there be NTA stations in all States in Nigeria.
“As much as it is to create job opportunities, it is not sustainable. Why not have a massive base station in Abuja, one substation in each geopolitical zone, and correspondence in each State”, another user wrote.