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Election : Minister canvasses better access to Information

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

By Lucy Ogalue

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says Nigerians need more access to information especially as the 2019 general elections draw nearer.

Mohammed stated this on Monday while inaugurating the Chinese government-sponsored “1000 Villages Access to Satellite TV Project’’ in Kpaduma village, Federal Capital Territory.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the project which will provide 1000 villages in Nigeria with solar powered satellite TV is part of the Chinese government-sponsored “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages’’.

Mohammed said: “The project could not have come at a better time as Nigerians would soon be voting in the 2019 general elections.

“They need access to information now, more than at any other time to know about the over 70 political parties that will be participating in the elections as well as about their various candidates.

“May I therefore implore the implementing agency of this project, Startimes, to expedite the installation of the satellite TV systems in the selected villages ahead of the elections.
“This will, no doubt go a long way in making it easier for Nigerians to make the right choice of candidates to vote for during the elections’’.

The minister added that improved access to information would have a positive effect on the lives of people in the rural communities stressing that “information is power”.

He commended the government of China for the laudable project as well as those that had worked hard to make the project a reality.

Mohammed explained that the project was among the ten major “China-Africa Cooperation Plans’’ announced at the 2015 Forum on China -Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Earlier, the Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjian, said China and Nigeria had strong ties and the Chinese was looking forward to strengthening cooperation with Nigeria.

“We are very happy to be part of the programme to connect people in the villages to the outside World.

“The World is a global village and we need better connectivity between and among people and that is why the Chinese government proposed and implemented this project,’’ he said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Startimes/ NTA, Mr Justin Zhang, said Startimes – a PayTV operating in the country- had over four million subscribers.
Zhang said the project would not only bring lasting smiles to the beneficiaries but also create jobs as many Nigerians would be engaged.

The Chief of Garki in FCT, Alhaji Usman Ndakudi, commended the Chinese government for fulfiling the pledge to provide access to information to Nigerian villages.

He commended the Nigeria government for its efforts on inclusive economy and solicited provision of basic amenities, particularly, water to Kpaduma.

Some residents of the community who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) expressed their delight at the installation of the satellite TV. (NAN).

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