The Plateau Government on Wednesday approved N279 million for the resuscitation of the state’s ailing Nigeria Standard newspaper.
Briefing newsmen after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Jonah Jang, the Information Commissioner, Abraham Yiljap, said the lifeline would be used to purchase printing press equipment.
The approval, according to the commissioner, will also cover the cost of purchase of new vehicles and newspaper consumables as well as a generating set.
“The Council approved N228 million for the purchase of modern newspaper printing press machine and N10 million for the purchase of newspaper consumables for one year.
“The Council has also approved the procurement of three Hilux vehicles and one Toyota Corolla vehicle all totaling N21 million and there will be more vehicles that will be bought.
“In addition, Council has approved the purchase of one 500KVA Mikano generator at the cost of N20 million. Council’s total approval is N279, 272, 667 million and of course this is the first time it is happening since the company was established.”
The commissioner said the newspaper would serve as a reliable platform for the propagation of the interest of the people of the state in particular, and the middle belt region in general.
According to him, this platform is necessary in view of the peculiar realities of the socio-political developments in the country.
“The governor is very anxious that Standard should be on its feet and running and the people of Plateau State are also looking forward to a new Nigeria Standard newspaper on the street.
“Indeed, the Standard that is being repositioned right now is not only to serve Plateau but the whole of the middle belt, even outside of the middle belt.
“Nigeria Standard is expected to come out as a professional newspaper; as a paper that carries the aspirations, desires and challenges of the people of Plateau State and the middle belt as a whole.”
Mr. Yiljap explained that the paper would be equipped to provide online services in order to better serve its audience as well as tell the Plateau and middle belt stories to the world in an objective and truthful manner.
“Council has directed that PPC and PRTV be intensively looked at in their ICT needs so as to ensure that whatever is done in the newsrooms, in the programmes department and in other areas could be streamed or put on the internet right away.”
The commissioner pointed out that government’s investment in the company was to reposition it for commercial viability and self-sustenance, and urged the management and staff of the company to be professional and business-oriented.
He also underscored the need for them to work hard to face up to the challenges, as it would no longer be business as usual.
“With this investment, the government is showing its commitment to the information sector in Plateau State. You recall that it was not long ago that a brand new radio OB van was acquired and received by the Plateau Radio Television Corporation,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Standard newspaper was first published in 1972 and was widely circulated all over Northern Nigeria till the late 1980s when it collapsed.