Nigerian Television Authority

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nigerian Television Authority
TypeBroadcast network
Broadcast area
OwnerGovernment of Nigeria
Established1977 (following on from the Western Nigerian Government Broadcasting Corporation (WNTV), est. 1959)
Nigerian Television Authority, Benin Office

The Nigerian Television Authority or NTA is a Nigerian government-owned and partly commercial broadcast station.[1] Originally known as Nigerian Television (NTV), it was inaugurated in 1977 with a monopoly on national television broadcasting, after a takeover of regional television stations by military governmental authorities in 1976. After declining interest from the public in government-influenced programming,[2] it lost its monopoly over television broadcasting in Nigeria in the 1990s.

The NTA runs the largest television network in Nigeria with stations in several parts of the country. It is widely viewed as the "authentic voice" of the Nigerian government.[3]


Early broadcast stations in Nigeria[edit]

The first television station in Nigeria, the Western Nigerian Government Broadcasting Corporation (WNTV) began broadcasting on 31 October 1959.[4] Its first Chairman was Olapade Obisesan, a lawyer trained in the United Kingdom and the son of Akinpelu Obisesan, an Ibadan socialite and first president of the Cooperative Bank of Nigeria. Vincent Maduka, a former engineer, was the General Manager. The station was based in Ibadan, making it the first broadcast station in Africa.

In March 1962, Radio-Television Kaduna/Radio Kaduna Television (RKTV) was established. It was based in Kaduna and was operated by the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria. RKTV also provided coverage for the central northern states; it opened new stations on Zaria in July 1962 and on Kano in February 1963.[5] Later in 1977, it was re-branded NTV-Kaduna.[6]

In April 1962, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established as a federal government-owned service based in the city of Lagos, broadcasting to the southwestern states.[6]

MidWest TV was established in 1972 as a TV broadcaster of Port Harcourt. It was run by the state government in Benin.[6]

Benue-Plateau Television Corporation (BPTV) was established in 1974 with headquarters in Jos. It was the first television station to launch regular/permanent colour broadcasts in Africa. The colour test transmissions began on 1 October 1975. BPTV was later re-branded as NTV-Jos.[6]

NTA was founded in 1977. By May 1977 all the state television broadcasters listed above were merged and re-branded as Nigerian Television (NTV) and owned by the Nigerian Television Authority.[6] Obisesan and Makuda continued in the roles of Chairman and General Manager of NTA. As of 1979, NTA had reached about 20% of the Nigerian population.[7]

Early programming[edit]

1977–1990: Networking locally produced content[edit]

Dramatic programming such as serials and anthology series were rare in regional television stations before NTA was founded in 1977. TV shows such as Moses Olaiya's Alawada on WNTV (later NTA Ibadan), Village Headmaster and Hotel de Jordan on NTA Benin became available more widely after the merger. Apart from these few notable shows, there was little original content in dramatic series production during the 1970s.[8] By 1980, when the new NTA network took over state-owned broadcasting stations in the country, there was a concerted effort to increase the quality of locally produced content. NTA began offering support to the production of notable country-wide network programs such as Tales by Moonlight, Cockcrow at Dawn, and Mirror in the Sun as early as 1977.[7] In 1982, a drama produced by NTA Sokoto, Moment of Truth won a prize at the fifth URTNA festival held in Algiers.

To cultivate interest in original broadcast content from Nigerian producers, the network set a ceiling of 20% broadcasting time to be allocated to foreign programming, during a period when the cost of acquiring those programs was much less than the locally produced ones.[9] With just a portion of the broadcast week for schedulers to work with, foreign imports were routinely some of the most popular shows from the UK and the U.S., such as Yes Minister, Charlie's Angels, Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest. Cockcrow at Dawn, an agriculture promotional drama partially sponsored by UBA and produced by Peter Igho, who directed the award-winning Moment of Truth, emerged as one of the first nationally televised drama series in Nigeria.[10] However, it was short-lived due to "government structure syndrome".[11] Acada Campus, a show produced by Bode Sowande, was also short-lived. These series were widely available thanks to NTA's monopoly on broadcasting.

In the 1980s, a series of critically acclaimed soap operas were promoted on the network.[12] The first was Laolu Ogunniyi's Wind Against My Soul, followed by For Better or Worse and Lola Fani Kayode's Mirror in the Sun. The last of these, produced in 1983, was well-received by critics,[13] but its broadcast was interrupted after two years due to a lack of financial support. In the mid-1980s, another group of soap operas dominated the airwaves, including the short-lived Behind the Clouds and Turning Wheels.

In 1984, NTA began to broadcast Tales by Moonlight, a children's programme narrating traditional African folklore stories. The network also broadcast Adelia Onyedibia's adaptation of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart in 1986.[14]

The network also promoted notable comedy series during this period such as New Masquerade and Ken Saro Wiwa's Basi and Company.[15] One of the earliest network comedies was House no. 13 (1984) starring Wale Ogunyemi;, a sitcom satirizing the social and urban lifestyle of Nigerians. Basi and Company, a critically acclaimed comedy series[16] starring Albert Egbe was broadcast in 1985. Village Headmaster, Koko Close and Samanja, three series spoken in Nigerian Pidgin, were aired nationwide.

1990s: Partial commercialization[edit]

Under the structural adjustment program initiated by the government of Ibrahim Babangida, NTA was required to commercialize some of its time slots in an attempt to move away from public broadcasting towards a partially commercial broadcasting network. This led to the addition of sponsored and brokered religious programs and the live transmission of weddings and funeral services on the network.

NTA also continued to show acclaimed soap operas such as Mind Bending by Lola Fani-Kayode, Ripples by Zeb Ejiro and Checkmate by Amaka Igwe. Ripples, which began in 1988, became the network's longest-running soap opera, ending in 1993.[15] Checkmate by Amaka Igwe, starring Richard Mofe Damijo, Bob-Manuel Udokwu, Ego Boyo, Kunle Bamtefa and Mildred Iweka, launched the career of many Nigerian celebrities. Following the end of Ripples and Checkmate, NTA promoted the shows Blossom and Fortunes, but these series suffered from declining viewership. At this time NTA, which previously had a broadcast monopoly, faced competition from new entrants such as Africa Independent Television. To compete, the network introduced prime time Latin American telenovelas such as The Rich Also Cry, Secrets of the Sand and Wild Rose.

Programming for children or for education usually occurred between 06:30 pm and 07:00 pm. Shows included Fun time, Readers club, Work it Out, and Take a Step.

In 1999, the network introduced breakfast television with A.M. Express.[17]


News programming was central to NTA's and the government's efforts to forge national unity. The network ensured that news presenters did not simply read prepared scripts but acted as part of the news gathering team. As many of their early news writers came from print journalism, NTA made sure that writers understood the importance of writing for visual presentation. NTA introduced a new line of newscasters and reporters such as Ronke Ayuba, John Momoh, Cyril Stober, Bimbo Oloyede, Ruth Opia, Sienne Allwell-Brown and Sola Omole. Specialized news programmes like Frank Olise's Newsline were also introduced.[18] The major news programmes were the Network News at Nine, a 5-minute News in Brief at 5:00 pm, and a 15-minute Newscap at 11:00 pm.

NTA Minna

In the 1990s, NTA joined other state-owned stations in commercialising some aspects of news reporting by including festivals, social events, cultural and business activities in the news or as part of a news programme in return for the payment of a fee.[19]

21st Century programming[edit]

As of 2013, mandatory network programming dominated the airtime of most local NTA stations. The local stations were offered a choice of a local broadcasting time from a specific time range.[20]

During the daytime, magazine shows like A.M. Express, later renamed Good Morning Nigeria, aired for 2½ hours from 6:30 am to 9:00 am and from Monday to Friday, but other programs air once or twice every week. Network dramas like Super Story and Stand Up Nigeria were usually broadcast in the Tuesday and Thursday 8:00 pm slot. Notable sports programs include On the Pitch on Mondays.

NTA, which previously had some original children's programming, formed a partnership with Viacom to broadcast Nickelodeon's programmes during its 5-7 pm time slot for children and instructional television in 2013, the agreement also included content provided by MTV Base.[21]

Network news[edit]

NTA's news mostly reports on government activities.[22] The major news production is Network News, an hour-long programme that airs at 9:00 pm Monday-Friday except on Wednesdays, when it is replaced with News Extra. Network News usually starts with news from the presidency, then news from the National Assembly, followed by ministries and state governments.[23] Other news productions include News at 7 and Nationwide News at 4 pm. Investigative reporting and human stories are usually subordinate to covering government activities, with the exception of Newsline which airs on Sunday evenings. The 9 pm news programme has one of the network's highest advertising rates for 30-second ads.[24] Paid news segments such as 'News of Special Interest' are inserted into network broadcast news such as Newsline or the 9 pm network news.[25]

Other notable news productions include Panorama, One o'Clock Live, Inside the Senate, and You and Your Rep.[26]

Imported programmes[edit]



Children's Programmes




NTA branches and network centres[edit]

As of 2014, NTA had 101 stations in state capitals and towns of Nigeria, nine of which are network centres. The network centres mostly derive from Nigeria's early broadcast stations, and are located at Ibadan, Jos, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos, Benin, Makurdi, Maiduguri, Sokoto and Port Harcourt. [27]

Region Channel Established Channel Notes
Aba, Abia NTA Aba 6 Network Centre
Abeokuta NTA Abeokuta 1979 12 Network Centre
Abuja NTA Abuja 1982 5 Network Centre
Abuja NTA Plus 21 Network Centre
Ado-Ekiti NTA Ado-Ekiti 2003 5 Network Centre
Akure NTA Akure 11 Network Centre
Asaba NTA Asaba 2005 2 Network Centre
Awka NTA Awka 5 Network Centre
Bauchi NTA Bauchi 9 Network Centre
Benin NTA Benin 7 Zonal Network Centre
Birnin-Kebbi NTA Birnin Kebbi 39 Network Centre
Calabar NTA Calabar 9 Network Centre
Damaturu NTA Damaturu 5 Network Centre
Damaturu NTA Damaturu 7 Network Centre
Dutse NTA Dutse 10 Network Centre
Enugu NTA Enugu 1960 8 Zonal Network Centre
Gombe NTA Gombe 5 Network Centre
Gusau NTA Gusau 9 Network Centre
Ibadan NTA Ibadan 1959 7 Zonal Network Centre
Ife NTA Ife-Ife 3 Network Centre
Ilorin NTA Ilorin 9 Network Centre
Jalingo NTA Jalingo 6 Network Centre
Jos NTA Jos 1974 7 Zonal Network Centre
Kaduna NTA Kaduna 1962 4 Zonal Network Centre
Kafanchan NTA Kafanchan Network Centre
Kano NTA Kano 5 Network Centre
Katsina NTA Katsina 8 Network Centre
Lagos NTA Lagos 1962 10 Zonal Network Centre
Lagos NTA2 1980 5 Zonal Network Centre
Lafia NTA Lafia 2003 9 Network Centre
Lokoja NTA Lokoja 7 Network Centre
Maiduguri NTA Maiduguri 10 Zonal Network Centre
Makurdi NTA Makurdi 10 Zonal Network Centre
Minna NTA Minna 1978 10 Network Centre
Ondo NTA Ondo 2002 Network Centre
Osogbo NTA Osogbo 4 Network Centre
Owerri NTA Owerri 12 Network Centre
Oyo NTA Katsina 3 Network Centre
Port Harcourt NTA Port Harcourt 10 Zonal Network Centre
Sapele NTA Sapele Network Centre
Sokoto NTA Sokoto 5 Zonal Network Centre
Uyo NTA Uyo 12 Network Centre
Yenagoa NTA Yenagoa 28 Network Centre
Yola NTA Yola 1978 8 Network Centre
Worldwide NTA International International channel (also styled NTAi)
Nationwide NTA Education
Nationwide NTA Sports
Nationwide NTA News 24

In the past, there was a network centre in Ikeja, NTA Ikeja (channel 7), that existed from 1981 to 2000. There is also an NTA station based in Eket called NTA Eket, broadcast on channel 35, which was abandoned in approximately 2006 as of December 2023. The Nigerian House of Representatives later pushed to reinstate the station to full operations.[28][29]


NTA is partially funded through a state subvention. NTA has faced criticism that the content it covers is influenced by government and politicians.[30] This interference is said to diminish the professionalism of newscasters on NTA.[30][31]

The NTA has been criticized by performing artists such as Becky Umeh for allegedly pressuring her and other artists to align their expression with government propaganda goals.[32][33] In an editorial on 18 October 2009, the Lagos newspaper The Guardian stated that "the federal government-owned television network, the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) is arguably the largest of its type in Africa, but it is yet to have the operational freedom required to maximize its potential."

It has been suggested that the proliferation of NTA stations in every state capital is not useful for broadcasting but is driven by political reasons.[34] The network has also been criticized for using antiquated technology.[9]

Related services[edit]

NTA's digital Pay TV service, Startimes, was established in 2010 as a partnership with Star Communications Technology of China. Additional NTA channels include NTA Yoruba, NTA Ibo, NTA Hausa, NTA Sports 24 and NTA Parliamentary Channel.[35]

International broadcast[edit]

A number of NTA programmes can be viewed online via Africast as well as TelAfric Television in the US and Canada. NTA News bulletins are frequently aired on Africa Independent Television and BEN Television in the United Kingdom, where the station was also launched on Sky on channel 213 in 2008. It moved to channel 202 on 1 September 2008 to give space to new channels. In early March 2010, NTA refused to broadcast as a pay-per-view channel on Sky, and was removed from Sky EPG on the following day. The channel returned on Sky in the UK on 20 June 2018 on channel 781.

NTA is also available on the IPTV platform SuncasTV, and via free-to-air satellite on Amos 17, SES 3, SES 5, Badr 7, Express AMU1, NigComSat 1R, Eutelsat 3B and Belintersat-1.

Notable staff[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Nigerian Television Authority – About Us". Archived 2021-11-27 at the Wayback Machine Nigerian Television Authority. Accessed February 2016.
  2. ^ Okpara, Christian (24 June 2018). "When Nigeria lost the TV groove". The Guardian (Nigeria). Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  3. ^ "Nigerian Broadcasting, Article 19" (PDF). Article19.ORG. February 2001. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  4. ^ Nwulu, N. I.; Adekanbi, A.; Oranugo, T.; Adewale, Y. (November 2010). "Television broadcasting in Africa: Pioneering milestones". 2010 Second Region 8 IEEE Conference on the History of Communications. pp. 1–6. doi:10.1109/HISTELCON.2010.5735315. ISBN 978-1-4244-7450-9. S2CID 21817115.
  5. ^ "Television Factbook" (PDF). 1977. p. 1121. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Charles C. Umeh (1989). "The Advent and Growth of Television Broadcasting in Nigeria: Its Political and Educational Overtones" (PDF). / Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b Omatsola, Daniel (1998). Televisual Film Production in Nigeria: A Critical Source Book. Abotu Research Publishers. p. 31. ISBN 9783440683.
  8. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 66.
  9. ^ a b Omatsola 1998, p. 35.
  10. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 67.
  11. ^ Ayakoroma, Barclays Foubiri (2014). Trends in Nollywood : a study of selected genres. Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria: Kraft Books. p. 41. ISBN 978-978-918-274-9. OCLC 909897470.
  12. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 74.
  13. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 68.
  14. ^ Ayakoroma 2014, p. 43.
  15. ^ a b Ayakoroma 2014, p. 44.
  16. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 92.
  17. ^ Nigeria: Viewers welcome breakfast TV. (1999, Nov 29). BBC Monitoring Media Retrieved from Proquest
  18. ^ Esan, Oluyinka (2009). Nigerian television: fifty years of television in Africa. Princeton, NJ: AMV Pub. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-9766941-2-0. OCLC 593067177.
  19. ^ Esan 2009, p. 253.
  20. ^ Akingbulu 2010, p. 89.
  21. ^ "NTA, Viacom Partner On Programmes". This Day. Lagos. February 1, 2013.
  22. ^ Esan 2009, p. 273.
  23. ^ Akingbulu, Akin (2010). Public Broadcasting in Africa Series: Nigeria. [New York]: Open Society Foundations. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-920489-65-6. OCLC 813993687.
  24. ^ Akingbulu 2010, p. 80.
  25. ^ Akingbulu 2010, p. 81.
  26. ^ Esan 2009, p. 282.
  27. ^ Esan 2009, p. 240.
  28. ^ Anthony, Lovina (22 December 2023). "Reps move to revive abandoned Eket NTA station". Daily Post. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  29. ^ Yafugborhi, Egufe (22 December 2023). "Reps push for activation of abandoned NTA Eket station". Vanguard. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  30. ^ a b Omatsola 1998, p. 32.
  31. ^ Esan 2009, p. 118.
  32. ^ A hard road to travel, THE GUARDIAN (Nigeria), 1999-06-16
  33. ^ as Alejo Berates Govt, The Post Express, Nigeria, 2002-04-02
  34. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 37.
  35. ^ Etienne, Mary (February 11, 2013). "Startimes Adds UEFA Champions League Channel, Others". This Day. Lagos.
  36. ^ Nigeria: Exit of a Showman
  37. ^ Sadiq Daba - Meet One of Nigeria's Most Professional Broadcasters
  38. ^ "'Walking with Shadows' is proof that Funmi Iyanda is still invested in telling human interest stories". 6 September 2019.
  39. ^ Tade Ogidan Shines
  40. ^ "Onyeka Onwenu". Nigerian Voice. Retrieved 2020-04-01.