Last year, Equal Access International, a San Francisco-based government contractor, started Arewa24 TV as a 24-hour satellite TV channel set in northern Nigeria to help combat terrorism in the region by countering the religious extremism of insurgents like Boko Haram. Equal Access International has similar programs in Yemen and Pakistan, backed by the US State Department.
Arewa24 TV has now gotten backing from the US State Department as well to the tune of $6million. Arewa24 has not yet started broadcasts but the channel will produce locally and broadcast original content for both youth and children with emphasis on teaching against Boko Haram recruitment and religious extremism among the youth and training to women.
With the obvious challenge of access to electricity and TV sets and other public services: infrastructure, education and security that is prevalent in the north, the Arewa24 TV team is hoping to reach the masses via their mobile phones.
Arewa24 TV is not the first United States media in northern Nigeria. The Voice of America has been offering programs in Hausa for a while.