Established in 1977, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was the first TV station in Africa. The Nigerian government owns it, and it is also partly involved in commercial broadcasting. Having over 100 stations in different parts of the country, NTA had monopoly on television broadcasting earlier when it was established following the regional takeover by the military. This monopoly was broken, however, in the 90s when private TV stations started being established.
The NTA has always enjoyed from its reputation as the most official mouthpiece of the government for years now, and so has grown consequently; it however has more miles to cover in its journey of broadcasting.
The Beginning Days
It began in that yellow south-western city, characterized by serenity and an air that smelled of enthusiasm—the city of Ibadan. NTA began at Ibadan in 1959 as WNTV, which in full was Western Nigerian Government Broadcasting Corporation (WNTV), and was the first of its kind in the entire continent. NTA merged with two other stations that were established in 1962—the RKTV or Radio-Television Kaduna and the NBC or Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (owned by the Nigerian government).
The NTA kept expanding. It soon went into a merger again with the Mid West TV, a station based in Rivers State but was run by the government of Benin; as well as a merger with BPTV or Benue-Plateau Television Corporation , based in Jos. BPTV held the record then of being the first Nigerian TV station to air a broadcast in more colors than white, black, and grey; it was founded in 1974.
It was in the last quarter of 1975 that BPTV established colored broadcasting in Nigeria’s airspace, and afterwards the station underwent a transformation that saw to its name changed to NTV. The Enugu Nigerian Television (ENTV) was not left out of the merger affair, it too turned into NTA Enugu.
By the decree of the federal government, all broadcasting stations in each state were demanded to change their names to NTV. This was the birth of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), as that structure was sustained till today.
Let’s Talk About the NTA of Today
Even in 2019, we still have NTA churning out top-notch programmes and information to its viewers on issues going on in Nigeria and outside the country. It still remains the mouthpiece of the government, in a broad sense, as it retains it core activity of reporting foreign, economic, and security matters, as they concerns the Nigerian people.
The NTA also anchors certain shows in the entertainment space, religious ones too, lifestyle, and technology. I remember the Nigerian veteran broadcaster Cyril Stober interviewing the Math Professor Daniel Okuonghae from the University of Benin, on how Mathematics can be used and learned in Nigerian schools; that was an enlightenment program on the NTA.
AM Express, News Line, NTA Network news, InsideOut, NTA Sports, and others are just a few of the programmes you get to enjoy on the NTA today. For those outside of Nigeria, they can also get the NTA network on certain channels. For instance, there is BEN Tv in the United Kingdom, and IPTV platform that shows on Suncas TV, free to air satellite on galaxy 19, Intelsat 905, as well as Intelsat 507. You can even watch the NTA programs online in the US and Canada too via Africast and TelAfric Television.
It should be mentioned as well that the NTA has been criticized by a number of persons who claim that the NTA is the publicity tool in the hands of an incumbent Nigerian government to exhibit all the positive aspects of the administration. They claim that the NTA avoids reporting the shortcomings of the government of the day. While that is a subjective opinion, the station itself claims to be non-partisan and neutral in affairs of politics and biasness.
The NTA is concerned about people of diverse age groups, gender, and culture within Nigeria. This is achieved by the range of programmes that span from educative to health, culture, comedy, soap-operas, culinary, religious shows, amongst others. You can check out the NTA website at www.nta.com.ng.