Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has warned the Lai Mohammed-led information ministry against exploiting Nigerians as the country transits from analogue to digital broadcasting.
This, Dogara said, before an Adhoc Committee set up by the National Assembly to investigate the Digital Switch Over (DSO) process.
The Information Minister had told the committee that the initial N60 billion proposed for the DSO would no longer be feasible as the proposal had been affected by inflation and foreign exchange.
Mohammed said that government can no longer afford to provide the Set Top Boxes (STBs) required for each household to access the DSO, adding that it will be collaborating with state and local governments so as to make the STBs available.
But the Speaker, who was represented by the Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, told the minister that in as much the DSO will re-position the country’s broadcast landscape, the House would not allow acts that would lead to undue exploitations of the citizens.
His warning comes on the heels of alleged procedural irregularities, inconsistencies, and misappropriation of funds by Mohammed’s team.
“I have heard from different quarters that the digital switch over will re-position the broadcast landscape architecture in Nigeria,” Dogara said.
“The National Assembly, with its responsibilities of representation, will neither condone acts inimical to the development of the country, nor allow Nigerians to be unduly exploited.
“We should use all legislative tools at our disposal, to ensure its success. It is in this light that I am extremely delighted to be part of this epoch making event.
“Our aim is to ensure that Nigerians benefit maximally from this novel modernization. We will strive to avoid a situation where the country becomes a dumping ground for all forms of digital equipment.
“I must commend the pilot phase of the Digital Switch-Over launched in Jos and Abuja, having failed at this noble cause twice. This notwithstanding, feedback from the launches has been a source of concern to the National Assembly. It is hoped that this exercise, a significant milestone to reposition our great country, will proffer a way forward to successfully transit from analogue to digital broadcasting,” he said.