Thursday, April 02, 2009

Voice of Nigeria's new station should be ready before October 1

The Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili, expressed optimism on Monday that the 5 billion Naira transmitting station of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) would be ready before independence celebrations on 1 October. Akunyili who spoke while inspecting the project at Lugbe, Abuja, expressed delight at the progress of work on the station in the last two years. She promised to ensure that the station’s studio complex at the Central Area in Abuja, was built and operational within three months.
“We need to have the studio close to Yar’adua Centre at the Central Area ready, but the place is still under contention. We believe that very soon we will start putting up something there, because we need to shut down the transmitting station in Lagos for renovation,” she said.
Malam Abubakar Jijiwa, the station’s Director-General who conducted the minister round the site, said that it would be inaugurated in August. The project, which started in 2007 on 120 hectares of land at Lugbe, is said to be the first of its kind in sub-Sahara Africa.
Jijiwa told newsmen after the tour that construction had reached 98 per cent completion while the civil works were 100 per cent ready. “This is going to be the most sophisticated transmitting station in Africa. We have three new transmitters being installed and they are almost ready. We have begun test transmission and latest by August this year, we will be ready for the president to come and commission this project,” he said.
The Director-General said that on completion, the project would produce a radio station with capability to broadcast in digital and analogue systems on the short wave band. He explained that the new transmitters would expand the international coverage of the station to be heard worldwide. He added that the station has the capability of a rotating antenna that could send signals to any part of the world.
Jijiwa said that the project was faced with two major problems: electric power supply and an unresolved land dispute with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). “We need a 33KV line to power the station and I plead with the minister to take this up with her colleague at the energy ministry. The other challenge is that while this station is ready, the connection to the studio complex at Central Area, Abuja cannot be ready, because the land was taken away by the FCDA.”
“The equipment and the antennae system to be installed at the site that was already configured for this purpose are lying idle at the transmitting station in Lugbe. We need that land back because even if another land is given to VON for the studio complex, it means the antenna systems will be re-configured at the factory and that is not necessary,” Jijiwa said.
(Source: Daily Triumph/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)