Lai Mohammed: NTA will compete with CNN if granted $500m loan

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There are possibilities that the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) will be at par with the Cable News Network (CNN)

– This projection was made by Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture

– Mohammed said that this will be possible if the Senate approves the $500 million loan requested by the ministry The federal government, according to the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, is making a major move to upgrade the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to the status of the Cable News Network (CNN).

The minister said that this will be made possible if the $500 million which is part of the $29.96b loan requested by President Muhammadu Buhari is approved, The Guardian reports.

Mohammed said that going by the manpower and technology in the country, this is a possibility. He put forward this position to the Senate committee on local and foreign loans.

He said that the project will afford those in the music, fashion and film industries the needed visibility and growth.

The minister said that $245m of the fund will be used to upgrade the media and culture industry and that $11m will be used in funding projects targeted at digitalising all NTA stations.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the minister had said he was not aware of the “Protection From Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019” bill sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa before the National Assembly.

The bill which is often referred to as social media bill had passed the second reading on the floor of the Senate in November and may soon become law. The bill which had been trailed by controversy seeks to regulate social media.

But Mohammed, during a video interview with DW’s Tim Sebastian, said such a bill does not exist. He asked his interviewer who is the author of the bill.

“Who is the author of that bill, I am not even aware of it. There’s no such bill before the house. I can say that categorically and authoritatively that there’s no such bill before the house,” Mohammed said.

On the hate speech bill otherwise called the ‘Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill’ sponsored by Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the minister said President Muhammadu Buhari had no hand in the bill and it was ignorant of anyone to accuse him of such.

“What is even more shocking here is the ignorance of people. There’s what we call separation of power in major democracies. “This particular bill you’re talking about is a bill submitted not by the executive but by the legislative arm of government, so how can you accuse the executive?” he asked.

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