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Nigerian Television Authority

The Nigerian Television Authority – also known as NTA – is a Nigerian government-owned and partly commercial broadcaster that was inaugurated in 1977 with an initial monopoly on national television broadcasting.[1] The NTA runs the largest television network in Nigeria with stations in several parts of the country. Formerly known as Nigerian Television (NTV), the network began with a takeover of regional television stations in 1976 by the then military governmental authorities and is widely viewed as the authentic voice of the Nigerian government.[2] NTA lost its monopoly over television broadcasting in the 1990s.

Nigerian Television Authority
TypeBroadcast network
Established1977 (1959 under the name Western Nigerian Government Broadcasting Corporation (WNTV))


The first chairman of NTV 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. The first official general director was Vincent Maduka, a former engineer. Prior to his appointment, Maduka was the General Manager of Western Nigeria Television, headquartered in Ibadan, which was Africa's first television station.[3] The NTA has been criticized by performing artists such as Becky Umeh for pressuring her and other artists to align their expression with government propaganda goals.[4][5]The Guardian, in its editorial on 18 October 2009, 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". However, the NTA's monopoly on Nigerian broadcasting was broken in the mid-1990s with the establishment of privately owned television stations and networks, notably Africa Independent Television.


Nigerian Television AuthorityEdit

The Nigerian Television Authority began broadcasting on 31 October 1959 under the name Western Nigerian Government Broadcasting Corporation (WNTV), with Olapade Obisesan as its first Chairman. It was based in Ibadan and was the first television station in tropical Africa. Other northern parts of Africa already had a television stations.[6]

NTA was founded in 1977. By 1979, it had reached about 20% of the population.[7]

Merged stationsEdit

  • On 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. Later in 1977 it was re-branded NTV-Kaduna.[6]
  • On April 1962, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established as a federal government-owned service. Based in the city of Lagos, it broadcast 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 the headquarter 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 re-branded as NTV-Jos.[6]
  • From May 1977 all the state television broadcasters named above were merged and re-branded as Nigerian Television (NTV) and are now owned by the Nigerian Television Authority.[6]


1977–1990: Network programmingEdit

Dramatic programming such as serials and anthology series had existed sparingly in regional television stations before the advent of NTA in 1977. Following the 1977 NTA-NTV mergers, the regional stations, now local affiliates of the NTA network, had TV shows such as Moses Olaiya's Alawada on WNTV (later NTA Ibadan), Village Headmaster and Hotel de Jordan on NTA Benin. Apart from these few notable ones, 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 level of local content. Since 1977, the network began giving support to the production of notable country-wide network programmes such as Tales by Moonlight, Cock Crow at Dawn, and Mirror in the Sun.[7] In 1982, NTA Sokoto's produced drama, Moment of Truth won a prize at the fifth festival of the National Radio and Television Organizations of Africa held in Algiers. In order to cultivate interest in the broadcast of original 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] Cock Crow 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] Though produced by NTA, it did not last long before it was cancelled because of technical and production reasons.[11] Then came Acada Campus, another short-lived show produced by Bode Sowande. These series reached a majority of accessible viewers because NTA owned a monopoly on broadcasting in the country.

Beginning 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, then came For Better or Worse and Lola Fani Kayode's Mirror in the Sun. The last one, produced in 1983, was well acted with good cinematography and it was well received by critics,[13] but its broadcast was interrupted after two years due to a lack of financial support. From 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; the show was a sitcom that satirized the social and urban lifestyle of Nigerians. Then followed Basi and Company (1985), a critically acclaimed comedy series[16] starring Albert Egbe. Village Headmaster, Koko close and Samanja were three series spoken in Nigerian Pidgin that were aired nationwide.

1990s: Partial commercializationEdit

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

However, NTA continued with showing acclaimed soap operas such as Mind Bending by Lola Fani-Kayode, Ripples by Zeb Ejiro and Checkmate by Amaka Igwe. Ripples, which started in 1988, became the network's longest running soap opera before it ended being broadcast 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 both successful Ripples and Checkmate, NTA promoted the shows Blossom and Fortunes, but the two did not received the same viewership of its predecessors. However, it was also a period when NTA, which previously had a monopoly over the airwaves, now faced competition from new entrants such as AIT. In order to compete, the network introduced Latin American telenovelas such as The Rich Also Cry, Secrets of the Sand and Wild Rose into its prime time.

Children or instructional programming usually between 06:30 PM – 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 the bedrock of NTA's and the government's plan to forge national unity. The new NTA network made sure that news presenters not only read prepared scripts but were part of the news gathering team and, because many of the pioneer news writers came from print journalism, it made sure that writers understood the importance of writing for visual presentation. The broadcaster introduced a new line of newscasters and reporters like 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 of NTA were the Network News at Nine, a five-minutes long News in Brief at 5:00 P.M., and a fifteen-minutes long Newscap at 11:00 PM.

In the 1990s, NTA joined other state-owned stations to commercialise some aspects of news reporting.[19] These included festivals, social events, cultural and business activities that are included in the news or as part of a news programme on the basis of the payment of a fee.[19]


Today, mandatory network programming dominates the airtime of most local NTA stations. The local stations have a choice to pick local broadcasting time from a specific time range.[20]

During the daytime, magazine shows like A.M. Express, later renamed Good Morning Nigeria, air for 2½ hours from 06:30 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 are 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 programs during its 5-7 PM time slot for children and instructional television.[21]

Network newsEdit

NTA's news directorate is mostly dedicated on reporting government activities.[22] The major news production is the Network News, an hour-long programme that airs at 9:00 PM every Monday-Friday except on Wednesdays, when a version called News Extra is aired. The Network News usually starts with news from the presidency, then the National Assembly followed by ministries and state governments.[23] Other news productions include the News at 7 and Natiowide News at 4 PM. Coverage of events dominates most of the news programs, while 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 produces one of the network's highest advertising rates for 30-second ads.[24] Paid news segments such as 'News of Special Interest' are inserted to 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 ProgrammesEdit



Children's Programmes




NTA branches and network centresEdit

As of 2014, NTA has 101 stations in state capitals and towns of Nigeria; out of those stations are nine network centers. The centers are mostly the early stations of Nigeria: the NTA stations at Ibadan, Jos, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos, Benin, Makurdi, Maiduguri and Sokoto.[27]


NTA is partially funded through a state subvention. NTA has faced criticism that the content it covers is influenced by government and politicians.[28] This interference is said to diminish the professionalism of newscasters on NTA.[28][29] Moreover, the proliferation of NTA stations in every state capital tends to be more about politics and could stretch the capabilities and resources of the NTA network.[30] Another problem is criticism of the television network by some sectors of the public who feel that the technology used in broadcasting is not quite up to par with foreign broadcasters.[9]

Related servicesEdit

NTA has a digital Pay TV service called Startimes, established in 2010 as a partnership with Star Communications Technology of China. Additional NTA channels with the provider include NTA Yoruba, NTA Ibo, NTA Hausa, NTA Sports 24 and NTA Parliamentary Channel.[31]

International broadcastEdit

A number of NTA programmes can be viewed online via Africast as well as TelAfric Television (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, but in early March 2010, they refused to broadcast as a pay-per-view channel on Sky. On the following day, the channel was removed from the Sky EPG. The channel returned on Sky in the UK on 20 June 2018 on channel 781.

It is also available on the IPTV platform SuncasTV, and via free-to-air satellite on Galaxy 19, Intelsat 905 and Intelsat 507.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "The Nigerian Television Authority - About Us". Nigerian Television Authority. Accessed February 2016.
  2. ^ "Nigerian Broadcasting, Article 19" (PDF). Article19.ORG. February 2001. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  3. ^ 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: 1–6. doi:10.1109/HISTELCON.2010.5735315.
  4. ^ A hard road to travel, THE GUARDIAN (Nigeria), 1999-06-16
  5. ^ as Alejo Berates Govt, The Post Express, Nigeria, 2002-04-02
  6. ^ a b c d e f Charles C. Umeh (1989). "The Advent and Growth of Television Broadcasting in Nigeria: Its Political and Educational Overtones" (PDF). / Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b Omatsola 1998, p. 31.
  8. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 66.
  9. ^ a b Omatsola 1998, p. 35.
  10. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 67.
  11. ^ Ayakoroma 2010, p. 41.
  12. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 74.
  13. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 68.
  14. ^ Ayakoroma 2010, p. 43.
  15. ^ a b Ayakoroma 2010, p. 44.
  16. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 92.
  17. ^ Nigeria: Viewers welcome breakfast TV. (1999, Nov 29). BBC Monitoring Media Retrieved from Proquest
  18. ^ Esan 2009, p. 113.
  19. ^ a b 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 2010, p. 96.
  24. ^ Akingbulu 2010, p. 80.
  25. ^ Akingbulu 2010, p. 81.
  26. ^ Esan 2009, p. 282.
  27. ^ Esan 2009, p. 240.
  28. ^ a b Omatsola 1998, p. 32.
  29. ^ Esan 2009, p. 118.
  30. ^ Omatsola 1998, p. 37.
  31. ^ Etienne, Mary (February 11, 2013). "Startimes Adds UEFA Champions League Channel, Others". This Day. Lagos.