The break-in on Sunday by suspected state government operatives at the African Independent Television and Ray Power FM stations in Rivers State has been denounced by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, South-South Zone, and the Civil Society Organisation.
Remember how certain state government representatives, escorted by armed security personnel, broke into the media company run by Daar Communications Plc. using bulldozers and allegedly smashed the transmission mast?
The company’s gearbox room was hit by a collapsing mast, resulting in the destruction of equipment and an immediate disruption to operations.The company’s engineering house was partially demolished as well.
When our journalist went to the facility on Monday morning, she saw staff members talking about the development in groups outside the building along Ozuoba, Obio/Akpor local government area of the state.
About 85% of Daar Communications’ personnel would be impacted by the shutdown, according to Anthony Ekiko, Acting Head of Station at Daar Communications in Port Harcourt, who spoke with our correspondent.He demanded respect for the law and denounced the state government’s behaviour, claiming it had not consulted the corporation before performing the deed.
“So, yesterday morning, some men arrived with police officers, and simultaneously, they claimed to have an order from a higher authority to enter our gearbox hall and disconnect a great deal of equipment,” he said.A few of them climbed up to retrieve the mast.
As I was walking about, I noticed that the entire system was down.It might be quite difficult to advise the government at times. They are required to abide with the law. However, in our opinion, individuals who came here and carried out that act are intruders because they did not notify us, and it is deplorable.
In response, Opaka Dokubo, the South-South Zonal Vice President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, hailed the closure of the media organisation as regrettable and emphasised the necessity of more voices in order for democracy to function.
It is quite regrettable, in Dokubo’s opinion, that a voice as prominent and visible as the AIT/Ray Power would cease to exist in a democracy like ours, given what has transpired in Rivers State.He voiced concern that the circumstances would lead to the unemployment of certain journalists.
Furthermore, Dokubo stated, “Government at all levels should promote, encourage, and help media outlets to stay afloat and encourage others to join them, not criticise them.The NUJ official continued, “I think the government would have found a way to resolve this issue.
“Speaking as well, Enefaa Georgewill, the Chairman of the Rivers State Civil Society Organisation, stated that those responsible for the attack ought to be located and brought to justice.As members of civil society, we believe that government operations ought to be conducted within the bounds of the law.”We believe it to be an effort to silence the media. It is abhorrent and demonstrates the extent of desperation that our politics and government are capable of.
“We believe that every action taken by the government or its representatives, including demolition, must to be approved by our legal system before proceeding.Thus, we believe it is disgraceful and unseemly to be so lowly in a democracy.
And the person who ordered such should be taken into custody and charged by the police for violating security measures of that nature.Recall that Daar Communications Plc and the government have been at odds over the site that houses the transmission station of Ray Power FM and the AIT.