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Wike Issues AIT Quit Notice, Orders Media House to Vacate Premises in 48 Hours

Wike Issues AIT Quit Notice, Orders Media House to Vacate Premises in 48 Hours

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Governor Nyesom Wike-led government of Rivers State has served a 48 hours quit notice to the management of DAAR Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) to vacate part of its premises housing AIT/Raypower FM in Port Harcourt.

In the letter dated March 20, 2023 and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Rivers State Ministry of Works, Mrs Ebere Dennis Emenike, the government stated that the notice became necessary to enable it demolish the structure and commence construction of proposed Government Residential Area (GRA) phase 5 in Ozuoba.

The land on which AIT and Raypower Radio Station built its transmission station in Ozuoba has been a subject of dispute between the Rivers State Government and Daar Communication Plc.

The state government  recently claimed the property through a motion passed by the State House of Assembly.

Part of the letter read: “Following the imminent commencement of the above project, all structure(s) impacting on the right-of-way of the project have been earmarked for demolition including your own.

“Consequently, you are by this notice requested to remove such structure(s) within 48 hours to allow for speedy progress at work please”.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has pleaded with the state government to review its plan to pull down the AIT structure.

The NUJ in a statement signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo respectively, appealed to the Rivers State Government to review its position on the land dispute and drop its plan to demolish and take over the AIT property.

The NUJ urged the state government to open a negotiation channel with the media organisation for a peaceful resolution.

 The Union said  though it appreciated the State Government’s urban renewal policy, it pleaded with the government to temper justice with mercy.

“We appeal to the Rivers State Government to review the quit notice given to Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT and Raypower Radio Station.

“The Press and the Rivers State Government have come a long way as partners in progress. We believe that proper negotiation and peaceful resolution of the land dispute will serve the Government and people of Rivers State better.

“Whatever the merit of the quit notice by the Rivers State Government to Daar Communications Plc, we would not want the world to see the Press in a fight with the Rivers State Government in view of our long standing mutual relationship.

“NUJ will not be happy to see a Media House in Rivers State been demolished  over a land dispute that can be resolved peacefully and amicably”, the statement read in part.

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