Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has been criticised by Nigerians after he made public his intentions to secure a loan that would help upgrade the nation’s “broadcasting infrastructure” and also NTA to the likes of the American news network, CNN.
The minister disclosed his intentions 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.
According to a report by The Guardian, the minister said if the fund was approved, the NTA could be upgraded to enable it to send out signals that would be at par with CNN, “because we have the manpower and the technology.”
The minister trended on Twitter Monday as he received a backlash from Nigerian Twitter users.
Here are some reactions:
“Nigeria has wasted money on a lot of things since 1960 but if the $500m 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 $500m 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 colorful? Fear God.
“If Lai Mohammed wants NTA to compete with CNN, privatise it. CNN doesn’t 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 JJ. Omojuwa.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Lai Mohammed should fear God. Haba! $500m(N180bn) can build 10 world-class cancer hospitals. It can create at least 25,000 SMEs that will improve the lives of at least 5m families. Why does he need a loan of $500m(N180bn) to digitize 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 zones and correspondence in each state,” another user wrote.