The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), as part of an expansion in local languages offerings, has launched its new Igbo and Yoruba services in Nigeria. These services are aimed at providing more in-depth reporting on happenings in Nigeria.
The new services went live on Monday and are only available online.
With a £291 million backing from the British government, the new services are part of a global expansion of BBC language services. They join the Pidgin English platform that was launched last year.
In an interview with the AFP, Peter Okwoche, Editor of the new services said,
What we feel is that original journalism in a local language travels even further than in English.We are big on the African narrative, the Nigerian narrative. It’s time for people to try to tell their own stories.
The launch of the Yoruba and Igbo services represent the “final cogs in the wheel” for the language services in West Africa. The new services will join the BBC Hausa that has operated for the last 60 years.
BBC targets the young Nigerians
The new services will be hoping to tap into the growing and vibrant internet population of Nigeria.
Nigeria has an internet population of over 98 million, and mobile subscription is about 150 million. 62% of the country’s population is young; under the age of 24. This young population is the target of the BBC.
In addition to the young people in the country, the BBC is looking to tap into the country’s very vibrant citizens in the Diaspora.
A new narrative for Nigeria
Evidently, the launch of these new services is very timely, as the prevalent narrative about Nigeria is largely negative.
Nigeria is one of the world’s roaring societies and economy. A lot of development is ongoing in the southern part of the country that the world does not know about. There are constant new developments in tech, financial innovations, improvement in social indices, and economic prosperity. But these narratives almost never make it to the mainstream media.
All we ever get to hear from Nigeria these days is Boko Haram in the North East. As serious as that is, it’s happening in one particular part of the country.
The BBC is hoping to capture much of these developments in the local languages of two of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups.
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