Engineer Tukur Mohammed Lawal Funtua, took over the mantle as the new Managing Director of Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) in December, 2022.
He knew there was a need to focus more on development in the digital space as well as to earn enough resources to sustain operations through the use of pictures and videos.
No doubt, NIGCOMSAT has had its fair share of disappointments.
NIGCOMSAT 1R has run for eleven years and after a series of management changes in the organization since 2014 and several pits and falls especially with undue government control that has had negative impacts on its operations, NIGCOMSAT is on the rise again.
With more than 50 DTH platforms, broadcasters trust NIGCOMSAT to deliver a wide range of media content to their customers’ homes – including standard TV, HDTV and the Ultra HD channels. NIGCOMSAT platform provides free-to-air, free-to-view and pay-TV channels, as well as video-on-demand content.
Lawal at a recent event, said the organisation had more than 50 Direct-To-Home channels on its (DTH) platform and delivers a wide range of media content to their customers’ homes.
NIGCOMSAT platforms also provide free-to-air, free-to-view and Pay TV channels as well as video-on demand.
NIGCOMSAT has two Direct-To-Home (DTH) licensees and about 29 Direct Satellite Broadcasting (DSB) licenses and jointly transmit channels over NIGCOMSAT-1R.
It has contributions from Egypt, Kenya and we welcome the same from other African countries on the NigComSat 18 satellite.
It is an undeniable fact that the future belongs to broadcasting. So, Africa must rise to the occasion and be counted amongst those that would benefit in this digital age.
NIGCOMSAT has the capacity and resources to provide cutting-edge services across Africa and beyond.
NIGCOMSAT Satellite was particularly suited for broadcast service delivery which covers a wide geographical area. It is the most cost-effective means of delivering broadcast signals to homes.
NIGCOMSAT operates a Digital Head-End (DHE) platform for helping broadcasters, content producers, content aggregators, and Pay TV operators to reach millions in sub-Saharan Africa through communication satellites.
NIGCOMSAT has invested in both ground and space segments to make this an affordable and end-to-end business solution for players in the broadcast industry.
After its first satellite christened, Nigcomsat 1 failed in orbit in 2008, the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited suffered grave injuries as Nigerians and the global community spared nothing to criticize Nigeria’s, and indeed Africa’s attempts in space.
Before it’s launch, Nigeria had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Great Wall Industry Corporation, CGWIC to manage the satellite for two years before handing over to Nigeria to take over its management.
The cost of that satellite was pegged at $250million out of which Nigeria put in $50million as counterpart funding while the China EXIM paid $200million.
So when it failed a few months later under the Chinese management, Nigeria didn’t suffer any financial losses except for the loss of prestige.
And so on December 19, 2011, in Xichang, China, a replacement satellite named Nigcomsat 1R was launched with funfare. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) beamed images of the launch on live broadcast.
Before the second launch, Ahmed-Rufai and his team didn’t take chances, especially when Nigerians cast aspersions on the company, raising doubts whether the first satellite was indeed launched before its failure. With NTA and a contingent of the Nigerian media at the launch site, doubts were reduced to a manageable extent.
NigComSat-1R was the fourth in-orbit delivery contract signed by China Space with its international customers. The launch was conducted according to the NigComSat-1R Contract signed by Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT LTD.) and China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
NIGCOMSAT provides indigenous, innovative and cutting-edge value added services leveraging its expertise to provide solutions to industry specific needs and enhance the value of its satellite communications services. It helps provide services that enhance the professionalism and processes of the workplace
NIGCOMSAT1r provides ubiquitous high speed coverage over areas that terrestrial network operators cannot reach. Even in the most remote parts of Nigeria or West Africa, NIGCOMSAT will always deliver affordable consistent, reliable, and fast broadband services.
Nigcomsat-1r also provides an efficient medium for transmitting heavy streaming video and audio signals required in Telemedicine, as well as transmitting bio-signals and patient images from the telemedicine centres to the base stations.
The new MD, Engr. Tukur Funtau was born on 24th November 1966,. He is an indigene of Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina State, Northwest Nigeria.
He was before his appointment, Director, of health community affairs, safety and the environment with BUA Cement Plc, and served in various capacities including Health and Safety Manager, Country HSE Manager and Regional Manager for Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development at Lafarge Africa Plc and Group Head, Environment and Community Affairs at Dangote Cement Plc among others.
Engineer Tukur, who has thirty years of professional experience in manufacturing, process engineering, health, production, safety and environmental management, communications and various other fields, is a Chartered Environmentalist at the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, and the Professional Leadership Practitioners Institute.
He is a Registered Engineer with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), a member of numerous professional bodies and institutes. Engineer Tukur is an author and is married with children.
The NigComSat-1R spacecraft was built on Dong Fang Hong 4 (DFH-4) satellite bus, developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and launched by LM-3B launch vehicle, developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle (CALT).
Under Funtau’s leadership, NIGCOMSAT said the China Satellite Launch Tracking and Control General (CLTC) provided tracking, control and ground segment support for the programme.
The NigComSat-1R was the eight satellite built on the DFH-4 bus for in-orbit delivery and the NigComSat-1R launch was the 18th flight of LM-3B launch vehicle and the 154th flight in the series of the Long March launchers. “The project was carried out in conjunction with over 50 Nigcomsat engineers who spent nearly 31 months in China.”
The satellite with service lifespan of over 15 years was designed to meet the needs of telecommunications, maritime, defence and broadcast media in Africa, particularly Nigeria and part of Europe and Asia. It has 28 active transponders, and quad bands of Ku, ka, C-Band and L-band.
The two ground stations located in Abuja, and Kashi, China, owned by Nigcomsat, participated fully in the launch. A visibly excited managing director of Nigcomsat Limited, Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, simply said, “This mission is fulfilled.”
Leading African Broadcasting organization, the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) gave kudos to Nigeria NIGCOMSAT for quality delivery in satellite service.
The role of this leading African Broadcasting organization is to promote and empower the sons and daughters of the continent through quality Radio and TV programs.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper