Saliu, Zhang Baoping ABUJA (Xinhua) -- Hulumi, an
undeveloped rustic community in the Nigerian capital of Abuja
with limited infrastructure, came alive on Thursday.
Its people, mostly of Gbagyi descent,
with a few residents from other tribes, turned out en masse in
jubilation to welcome their Chinese guests and their local
partners who had come to launch a digital satellite TV in their
locality to broadcast traditional music, dance and colorful
display of their culture.
StarTimes, a Chinese firm which offers
direct-to-home pay TV services, introduced its digital TV
service to the locality as part of its pilot project to provide
satellite TV in five Nigerian villages.
The project is a fruit of one of the
resolutions of the 2015 summit of Forum On China-Africa
Cooperation, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in which the Chinese
government pledged to provide satellite TV in 10,000 African
And so, locals in Hulumi thronged out
in ecstasy when the innovative pilot project kicked off in their
community with Chinese and Nigerian officials in attendance.
Dimas Hakimi, top chief of Hulumi
district, told Xinhua that the Chinese satellite TV had brought
everlasting joy to the people.
For decades, the residents had only
been familiar with analog TV, thereby lacking the opportunity to
watch some of the exciting satellite TV channels enjoyed by
people in other towns and cities in the country.
As a pioneer digital terrestrial TV
provider in Nigeria, StarTimes has been able to disseminate
digital terrestrial television in at least 80 cities across the
West African country in seven years.
With its simple-to-install decoders
coupled with its low tariffs, StarTimes, in partnership with the
Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), has brought digital TV
within the reach of many Nigerians since 2010.
The satellite TV provides the
opportunity for locals to watch digital TV programs of both
local and international contents.
StarTimes offers some of its channels
in three main Nigerian languages—Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo, as well
as a Chinese Kungfu channel and Nollywood (Nigerian
entertainment) channels, among others.
In Hulumi, the Chinese firm presented
the community with sets of direct-to-home decoders for 20
households each, together with free installation of two sets of
digital TV projector with solar panels as well as voluntary
renovation works at the local primary school and donations of
educational and recreational materials to the pupils.
Every evening, locals who had no
television or lacked electricity supply gathered at the village
square to watch their favorite channels on a large projection
screen provided by StarTimes.
Hakimi, who welcomed Xinhua to his
home while watching the satellite TV together with his family,
said he enjoyed watching, mostly, news channels. However, his
wife and two sons’ favorite channels were those with
“StarTimes has been greatly accepted
here. We have never had this kind of experience. Most
families in Hulumi are now enjoying a digital life, and this
is marvelous in our eyes,” the village chief told Xinhua.
“This satellite TV will be of great
benefit to us. We have strong signals all around the local
community,” he added.
According to official data, Hulumi and
the six other surrounding villages have the population of 6,000
Speaking at the well-attended ceremony
to launch the satellite TV project on Thursday, Guo Weimin,
deputy director of the State Council Information Office of
China, said the goal of the Chinese government is to fulfill the
pledge of providing digital TV service that has already been
enjoyed by people in urban areas to more villages in rural areas
Guo said China will continue to
enhance its support for Nigeria and other African countries.
According to Yakubu Ibn Mohammed,
director general of the NTA and chairman of StarTimes/NTA TV
Enterprise, the Chinese firm has revolutionized the pay TV
industry in Nigeria.
He said Nigerians, even those in rural
areas, no longer need to spend a huge amount of money to enjoy
good TV programs.
Noting that StarTimes has done so much
to help with the digitization process of the Nigeria
Broadcasting Corporation, he told the cheerful audience that
StarTimes had brought an array of rich contents in educative,
informative and entertainment channels and urged the locals to
enjoy the service.
A thousand Nigerian villages are to
benefit from this continental project.