NBC set to boost Nigerian football: Mohammed

For Nigerian banks, telecom companies and businesses sponsoring foreign football leagues on local television or cable channels, charity will soon have to begin from home.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said on Wednesday that the firms must be willing  to spend 30 per cent of their budget on foreign league sponsorship on Nigerian local league, in line with an impending amendment of the National Broadcasting Code.

Sports buffs believe the move will be a big boon to Nigerian football, which suffers from poor financial support by Nigerian companies, which have been supporting English Premier League and other foreign leagues.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced this move  in Lagos today, as he threw more light on a planned amendment of the National Broadcasting  Code to allow for Nigerian content and flavour in what Nigerians consume on electronic channels.

The Minister had stirred controversy when he conveyed government decision  that any programme meant for Nigerians must be produced in Nigeria.

Alhaji Mohammed said he had no regret for stating the position, saying he was not appointed Minister to develop the economy of other countries at the expense of the Nigerian economy.

In a statement in Lagos on Wednesday, the Minister said the Creative Industry’s potential of creating one million jobs in three years cannot be realised if jobs meant for Nigerians are being exported to other countries under the guise of producing, in other countries, programmes to be consumed in Nigeria.

”I didn’t say that henceforth, all music videos and films will be produced in Nigeria, or that the production of music videos or films outside Nigeria will be banned. All I said was that if a programme is designated as a Nigerian (local) content programme, we will amend the Code to ensure that it is produced in Nigeria,” he said, adding: ”On that, there is no going back.”

The Minister recalled how his office was bombarded with calls from concerned Nigerians when the last edition of the ”Big Brother Naija” was produced in South Africa, saying he subsequently directed the National Broadcasting Commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversy.

”Following the findings, we decided to amend the relevant sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to prevent a repeat of that development. We are now in the process of doing that, so that anyone who intends to produce a reality show or similar programmes for Nigerians cannot take the production of such shows outside Nigeria.

”Nigerians are a very proud and resourceful people, and we are sure that no Nigerian will be against a decision to prevent the jobs that can be done in Nigeria by Nigerians from being exported to other countries,” he said.

In a related development, Alhaji Mohammed has said the Broadcasting Code is also being amended to help develop the local football league.

”This (amendment) is not just about the Creative Industry. We are also going to ensure that the NBC Code is amended in a manner that if any company in Nigeria today invests a million dollars in promoting or supporting any (football) team or league outside Nigeria, I want the Broadcasting Code to be amended to the effect that it will not allow that programme to be aired unless that company supports the Nigerian League with a percentage that will not be less than 30 per cent of what was spent.

”This is because we cannot continue to develop the economies of the other parts of the world from the sweat of Nigerians and at the expense of the Nigerian economy,” the Minister said.

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