Chinese government commences second phase of free satellite TV to Nigerian villages

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In a bid to enhance digital life, Chinese Government in partnership with StarTimes Nigeria, a provider of digital satellite has commenced the installation of satellite TV to some villages in Lagos to kick-off the second phase of connecting Nigerian rural communities to digital television.

Two years after piloting the first phase of the program in rural communities in Abuja, and being satisfied with the outcome, StarTimes commenced the second phase of the program by installing satellite TVs to some villages in Lagos.

During the China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Xi Jinping, the president of China, announced that his country would provide satellite television to 10,000 African villages as part of the efforts to boost African, Chinese relations.

Known as “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African villages,” and being executed by StarTimes, the project is aimed at providing 10,000 villages across Africa the opportunity of being connected to the digital world of television programming.

During the formal launching of the program in Nigeria, Justin Zhang, formal CEO of StarTimes Nigeria, said 1,000 villages across Nigeria would benefit from the program.

Ishagira-Elete, a riverine community in Ojo Local Government Area, Lagos, is one of the benefiting villages in Lagos.

Samuel Idowu, the Baale (community head), said he was excited and grateful to the Nigerian and Chinese governments and to StarTimes for connecting his village to the world global village through the installation of digital satellite televisions.

With the installation of the television, his village could now be known nationally and globally, he said.

Besides putting Ishagira-Elete village in the global map, the villagers too will have the opportunity of knowing a lot more of things happening in Nigeria and around the world.

“I thank the Chinese government and StarTimes for linking my villagers to the world,” he said passionately.

Samuel Opeifa, the spokesman for the community told BusinessDay it was a carnival-like ceremony when the equipment were brought to the community for installation, as one of the benefiting villages not only in Nigeria, but in Africa.

“We are very happy to know that our village is one of the chosen 10,000 villages in Africa,” he said excitedly.

More so, Opeifa said, everyone was happy that the gesture came at a time when Under 20 FIFA World Cup was going on, as the satellite television gave them the opportunity to be abreast with the competition.

Also, it made their football loving children and youth to watch the round leather games at home instead of crossing over to the city in search of game viewing centres to watch the games.

Isah Nurudeen, assistant headteacher, St. Peter’s Nursery & Primary School, Ishagira-Elete, where the satellite television has equally been installed, said he believed the digital television would enhance pupils-teachers, learning and teaching relationship, through the various educative children channels.

“I believe the satellite television will surely assist and enhance teachers in their teaching process,” Nurudeen said optimistically.

He advocated for such innovation to be installed in all village schools across the state.

In Ogba, Ogba/Agege Local Government Area, Lagos, the villagers were happy to feel the presence of digital life.

Prince Jelly Kehinde Asade, the royal regent of Ogbaland, said the community was happy to feel the presence of the Chinese government through the installation of StarTimes, adding that the palace has become a converging centre for the villagers to watch different television programmes, most especially the ongoing Under 20 FIFA World Cup.

Asipa of Ogbaland, was grateful that his village was part of the benefiting villages.

He said since the youths now have something to entertain them, it would be difficult for them to go into crime as entertainment brings people together and makes people to laugh away their evil intention.

“Our youths are watching and learning. Anyone who is nursing evil intention would have a rethink when being entertained with the television,” Asipa said.

JOSEPH MAURICE OGU

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