Demolition: AIT/Raypower ungrateful blackmailers of Rivers Govt.—Works Commissioner

The demolished AIT structure in Rivers

Demolition: AIT/Raypower ungrateful blackmailers of Rivers Govt.—Works Commissioner

* Using over 860 plots of land free of charge for over 20 years without paying ground rents,no documents.

*Using free Mast of FRCN handed over to the State Govt.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Rivers State government has lashed at DAAR Communications, owners of  AIT/RAYPOWER, describing them as ungrateful tenants who occupied free land to operate for over 20 years without paying a dime.

The State accused the management of the broadcast outfit of blackmailing the government for taking back its property the medium had acquired unlawfully.

Dr.George Kelly-Alabo, Rivers State Commissioner for Works said: “The building that has been housing the media was given to AIT/Raypower free of charge by The Rivers State government all these years.

“That property belongs to The Rivers State Government given to AIT pro bono all these years, today, they are blackmailing the Rivers State government that has been so magnanimous to them. This is the height of ingratitude”.

George Kelly pointed out that since the DAAR communications occupied the large expanse of land, there has never been any documentation on it. There is no Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) and the Company has never paid any ground rent to the government for over 20 years for using the land.

He also alleged that the mast which their communication outfit was mounted is not even theirs. It belongs to Rivers Government.

He dismissed the insinuation that the demolition was influenced by the former Governor Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).

He said the demolition has nothing to do with the Minister .

The Commissioner of Works explained that the State government has continuously reminded the company that the land on which the mast was erected is not theirs; it belongs to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and was handed over to the State government, which gave it to DAAR communications free of charge.

Kelly regretted that the management of DAAR is not a stickler to procedures and documentation.

“When you write them letters they will not respond. You call them for a meeting they will not respond. When you send them letters sometime, they refuse to pick them and you are compelled to paste on their gate. How can a responsible organisation be using state government property for the past 20 years and they’re not paying anything and now they are blackmailing the River State government. Is it right?”

Our Correspondent reports that on Monday, the transmitter house was brought down by the Rivers government after it was disconnected on Sunday by officials of the the state government.

Speaking to Our Correspondent, Acting Head of Station, Daar Communications in Port Harcourt, Anthony Ekiko, said the shutting down would affect about 85 per cent of its workforce drawn from the four host communities -they will be out of job.

He condemned the state government’s action, saying the latter did not consult the company before carrying out the action and called for adherence to the rule of law.

A brief history of the place shows that the River State House of Assembly, after receiving petitions of all from the four host communities and inquiry was conducted through Public hearing, passed a resolution ordering the state government to take over the property sitting on 860 plots of land because it was illegally acquired.

The South-South Zonal Vice President, Nigerian Union of Journalists,NUJ, Opaka Dokubo, described the shutdown of the media outfit as unfortunate, regretting that many Journalists will be out of job. He said that for democracy to thrive we need vibrant press like independent media like the AIT group.