The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ebonyi state chapter, yesterday commiserated with the management and staff of Unity FM Abakaliki (Radio Nigeria 101.5).
Recall that on Monday evening, fire razed some sections of the radio station, as a result of a bang that took place shortly after the Engineers changed from public power line to generator.
However, urgent intervention from men of the state fire service and a sudden rain that poured same evening during the disaster prevented the fire from burning down the station completely.
Godwin Oguta, a staff of the station, who witnessed the incident said he was in the production studio when he noticed smoke billowing from the area.
Another staff, Kelechi Ogoamaka, who was in the live studio at the time, said he narrowly escaped death as the passage leading to the live studio had been taken over by fire when he was pulled out.
Perturbed by the ugly development, the state NUJ led by the Chairman of the state council, Comrade Tony Nwizi, visited the station to sympathise with the management and staff.
“We are here to sympathise with you on the fire incident that gutted your station yesterday. We saw it and we felt so bad at this critical period especially this period of coronavirus pandemic that people are at home and only rely on the information given to them from the media to know what is happening around the world that this kind of thing is happening to Unity Fm, Radio Nigeria Abakaliki.
“We really sympathise with you and we have come to show solidarity as one of us because you are part and parcel of NUJ.
“As we thank God that no life was lost, we call on the government; both the federal and state governments to come to your assistance because Radio Nigeria is a very formidable tool in information dissemination for Ebonyi state in particular. We believe that his Excellency our Governor who is media friendly will come to your assistance as a matter of urgency because you are also reporting for Ebonyi state.
“We are not ignorant of the fact that the federal government pay less attention to departments and agencies of government of the federation especially in the media outfit where they should pay better attention. It is just like the proverbial hen that when it gives birth to its chicken, she abandons them to fend for themselves but in this case, the chicken is even better because while the chickens fend for themselves and can take care of themselves, this scenario is a situation where the chickens go out, fend for themselves and still bring back food for the mother hen.
“So, I want the federal government to look into this matter and pay urgent attention to the media industries for the best interest of Nigerians. We are very sorry and we sympathize with you and we believe that very soon that you will bounce back to life. I want to call everybody to put hands on deck to ensure that you return back to services.”
The General Manager of the station, Ogbuefi Rex Eze, said he was informed that there was a bang shortly after the Engineers changed from public power line to generator and thanked God that the fire did not affect the transmitter, the live studio and his office,” Nwizi said.
He added: “We want to thank you for this quick response to our predicament yesterday. I also want to thank for this show of support and solidarity in this period of difficulties for the station. As you pointed out, our services is very critical information dissemination in the state and it is just only unfortunate that we had this experience.
“Our preliminary investigation shows that it resulted from power spark in the production studio and that is why the production studio is heavily affected. We have lost everything in the production studio, we were not able to save even a single pin from there and because of the connection between the production studio and the live studio and the Transmitter, we cannot come on air for our services until some aspect of those wirings are put to use again. So, unity FM presently is off air. And like you made appeal, we are also joining you to appeal to the state government and other interested in the state; those who have been enjoying our services to come to our aid.
“The federal government cannot be left alone because of the heavy weights of a burden it carries now to carry all responsibility, we know they will react but we are appealing that if we get reaction and assistance from the state government or from wealthy individuals in the state to help put the station back on live, we will highly appreciate that.
“And we also rely on you because you are professional body to assist us reach out to the state government, reach out wealthy individuals in the state and corporate organizations that can offer us assistance in this very trial period. We pray that God will see us through on this problem and by his Grace, we will be able to come back much stronger than we were.”
The Chairman was accompanied by Secretary of the council, Comrade Nnamdi Akpa; Comrade Felix Ukah, Sir Emmanuel Irem, and two ex-officio of the council.