Governor Nyesom Wike has issued a 48-hour quit notice to Daar Communications, owners of AIT/Raypower television and radio stations, to remove the media outfit’s building housing facilities in the Ozuoba area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State’s capital, or it will be demolished in 48 hours.
The State Government issued the ultimatum in a quit notice dated Tuesday, March 21 and signed by Mrs. Ebere Dennis Emenike, Permanent Secretary of the Rivers Ministry of Works Government.
According to the state government, the structure is one of those designated for demolition in GRA Phase 5 in Port Harcourt.
The quit notice reads, “Following the imminent commencement of GRA Phase 5 project the structures are impacting on the Right Of Way have been earmarked for demolition, including your own.
“Consequently, you are by this notice requested to remove Structures within 48 hours to allow for speedy progress of work”.
However, the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged the government to abandon its plan to demolish the structure housing the AIT/Raypower media outfit’s facilities.
The appeal is contained in a press release signed by Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo, the state chairman and secretary of the NUJ, respectively.
The Union stated that the land on which the building housing AIT television and Raypower radio station was constructed has long been a source of contention between the Rivers State Government and Daar Communication Plc.
The Council, on the other hand, urged the Rivers State Government to reconsider its position on the land dispute and abandon its plan to demolish and take over the AIT property.
The Council urged the state government to open a dialogue with the media organization in order to reach a peaceful resolution.
“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 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 being demolished over a land dispute that can be resolved peacefully and amicably”, the statement said.
According to reports, the trouble began when some Ozuoba communities petitioned the Rivers State Government, alleging that the large expanse of land acquired by the founder of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, during the administration of former Governor Peter Odili was being sold or leased to private developers.
As a result, the Rivers State House of Assembly launched an investigation into Dokpesi’s method of acquiring the land.
The House later stated that its findings revealed that Dokpesi did not follow due process in acquiring the land.
However, some have linked the decision to demolish the building to the politics of the 2023 elections between PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike.
Dokpesi had led campaign of Atiku for the presidential ticket of PDP which was also contested for by Wike.
Meanwhile, the broadcast company’s staff and management are terrified of the impending demolition.
See a copy of the Rivers State Government’s 48-hour Quit Notice to AIT/Raypower management.