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NIGERIANS RALLY BEHIND THE SUN

By NBF News

Nigerians from all walks of life showed The Sun Publishing Limited outpouring of love and solidarity yesterday as they visited or sent goodwill messages over the fire incident that razed property worth hundreds of millions of naira in the early hours of Tuesday.

The list included state governors, Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, Chairman of the Punch Newspapers, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, traders and a host of others.

Akunyili, in a phone call described the incident as shocking and prayed that God would restore the company speedily.

Ogunsola, President of the Newspaper Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN) who led the Executive Secretary of the association, Mr. Feyi Smith to The Sun headquarters said the fact that Daily Sun was on the newsstands the morning after was a testimony to the fact that the company was strong and enjoying the grace of God.

He urged the management and staff of The Sun to appreciate God that the fire did not wreak havoc more than it did.

Former Minister of Defence, Gen Godwin Abe (retd), in his message, said: 'I am with The Sun family in prayers at this your moment of travails.' Also, management team of Thisday Newspapers led by the Managing Director, Mr. Eniola Bello which included the Divisional Director, Mr. Emmanuel Efeni and the Associate Editor, Mr. 'Gbayode Somuyiwa as well as National Publicity Secretary of Action Congress (AC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed accompanied by a businessman from Osogbo, Chief Rotimi Obeisun were on solidarity visit to the company.

National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) who breezed in at 4.00.p.m. expressed shock at the level of destruction. The OPC boss, who said he had to alter his itinerary to visit the company described The Sun and the OPC as 'head and body', pointing out that 'whatever happens to one affects the other.'

A representative of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Malachy Agbo was at The Sun headquarters just as Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank sent solidarity messages.

In his solidarity message, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, Chairman, Gocuz Group Limited and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State said he received the news of the fire with shock. He prayed that The Sun would overcome it and grow from strength to strength. 'My family and I identify with The Sun at this challenging time. We pray that you will overcome this set back and continue to do your work in educating and informing the people,' he stressed.

Frontline insurance firm, Sovereign Trust Insurance (STI) Plc, on its part charged the management and staff of The Sun Publishing Limited to use the inferno, as a launch pad to greater height. STI, in a letter signed by Messrs Segun Bankole and Wale Onaolapo, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Communications/Brand Management and Managing Director respectively, said: 'The management and staff of Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc wish to convey our heartfelt sympathy and solidarity to your organisation on the unfortunate fire incident that gutted your building.

'We thank God for His protection over the lives of your personnel during the inferno and pray that the good Lord will continually protect and guide us all from any imminent danger as we go about our daily business,

'We are using this medium to urge the management and staff of your organisation not to relent on the good work you are known for and to encourage you all to keep achieving more even in the midst of this present challenge.'

On his part, National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, (PFN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor in a statement yesterday, thanked God that no human life was lost in the tragedy.

Oritsejafor commended the fire fighters and the Nigerian Navy who were said to have contributed immensely in the containment of the spread of the fire to other parts of the company, stating that these agencies had amply demonstrated that there is hope in the country. 'Certainly, it could have been worse, but let us take solace in the Word of God which enjoins us to give thanks always in every circumstance,' the fiery cleric said, adding that the calamity may just be a stepping stone to greater heights in the company.

Managing Director of The Sun, Mr. Tony Onyima, who personally played host to the visitors with other management staff, thanked all of them for the solidarity and show of love even as he assured that 'no amount of devastation can affect The Sun.'

According to him, all the troubles in galaxy, satellite among others could only have temporary effect on the Sun like the eclipse, just as he admitted that 'the sad event of Tuesday was part of the challenges of this job.'

The managing director was full of praise for the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, for his wonderful assistance disclosing that he mobilised his men and help in alerting the Lagos Fire Services team and others to contain the inferno.

Onyima also assured that because of the rain, efforts were in progress to reconstruct the damaged areas and relocate the staff back to their offices regretting that 'right now, some don't have offices while some are sharing facilities with their colleagues.' Those who could not come sent messages to commiserate with The Sun family comprising Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun, Soccer Star and The Spectator.