Additionally, in many Muslim-majority societies in northern Nigeria, Christians are denied permits to build Churches while Muslims can build mosques anywhere, Fr. Alumuku confirmed.
“In northern Nigeria, selling land towards the construction of Churches and brothels is prohibited while mosques are constructed everywhere. In this way, Christians are equated to prostitutes and harlots,” the Nigerian Priest bemoans.
There have also been past reports of political leaders causing a rift between Christians and Muslims in Africa’s most populous nation.
“In a country where 50 per cent of the population are Christians, a majority of political leaders are Muslims who are trying to create Islamic dominance,” the Nigerian Cleric observed.
According to a recent report, Nigeria’s population is evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. The Church in Nigeria has one of the most dynamic evangelical and missionary movements in Africa and in the whole world, with about 7,200 missionaries and a missional presence in about 196 countries.
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Fr. Alumuku who completed his doctoral studies in Communications in Rome and proceeded to work at Vatican Radio for 12 years was charged with the responsibility of establishing the Catholic Television by Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan (now emeritus).
He recalls the humble beginning on January 1, 2010 with no camera, no cameraman and no studio. “It was a struggle but the TV has been sustainable through the 10 years. We began with a 15-minute programme on national TV, then grew to our own 24-hour broadcast,” Fr. Alumuku recounts.
The other challenge that the Catholic TV which relied on Christians’ donations to pay its staff was lack of Catholic music content.
“When we started, we didn’t have Catholic music to play on our new TV. In Nigeria, protestants have been huge in the media; one can imagine the challenge of starting a Catholic TV and having to play protestant songs throughout. We had to do something,” he says.
The first compilation of Catholic songs that CTV recorded was “Credo, do you believe” that Fr Alumuku says has become a sensation in the Catholic music industry. The album, which has garnered close to a million views on YouTube also won five out of eight awards at the 2017 Nigerian Catholic Film and Music Festivals that were held in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria.
The accolade, together with the TV’s other breakthroughs including its reach in many parts of Africa, has encouraged Christians in these parts of Africa to embrace media, the Nigerian priest says.
“There are many youths now coming forward to evangelize through singing. They compose songs knowing that they now have a place where their songs can be played,” he testified.
Fr. Alumuku also hinted to ACI Africa that CTV is planning to change its model of operation from a charitable organization to a commercial model where it will be generating income from sponsored content while remaining true to spreading the gospel of Christ as a Catholic TV.