Fire razes Igbinedion's Independent Television
The Benin based Independent Television (ITV) owned by the Esama of Benin and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, went off airwaves on Saturday night after parts of the television and radio station including the TV studio was gutted by fire.
According to the Head of News of the station, Mr Abiodun Mudashiru, who who spoke with journalists inside the burnt studios of the TV station, the fire started few minutes after 9 pm when the station was broadcasting the network news of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
Mr Mudashiru, who stated that the TV station has not issued any official statement on the unfortunate incident, said a combined forces of firefighters from the Edo State Fire Service, the University of Benin Fire Service and the Military Fire Service prevented the inferno from ravaging the entire building of the station.
”It was some minutes after 9pm last night (Saturday) when the network news was going on that (technical) operatives observed that there was an explosion in the main studio.
”They usually sit behind the walls. When they heard the light explosion, they decided to investigate what was happening.
”In the process of doing that, the roof just came down at once with a wild fire. That was it and before we knew it, the whole place was engulfed in flames.
Some staffers of the station also showed journalists a spot on the station's perimeter fencing they alleged was compromised by the people who carried out an attack to gain entrance to the complex housing the station, pointing out that the security wire on top of the fence was equally removed.
A delegation of Edo PDP leaders including its state chairman, Chief Dan Orbih; a former deputy governor of the state, Lucky Imasuen, and coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, were among the early visitors who came to condole with the station.
Speaking, Chief Orbih described the attack as a malicious one carried out by agents of the devil, adding that it was further revelation of the evil plan of those who have been threatening to deal with the opposition party in Edo State and their businesses.
He said, “Their plan is to cripple our campaign since they know that ITV has given us voice after the state owned Edo broadcasting Service categorically told us that they cannot air our views and programmes as a matter of policy. ITV's crime is that they have allowed every voice to be aired and given opportunity to everyone to speak.
”Just before Esama travelled out of the country, he told me that he had been receiving threats by some people to attack ITV for exposing the ills of the government of the day in the state. This attack showed that the threat was real.
”There has been a conscious effort on the parts of the APC government of Edo State to attack leaders of the PDP and their investments. The first was at the residence of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu where a bomb was detonated. What happened here yesterday was similar to that one.
”They also attacked our party members in the state House of Assembly. Now it is the turn of the ITV. They even forgot that ITV is not about a political party but a medium through which the public is being informed about the real happenings in our state. It is sad that people can take politics to this level.
”The people the state government usually use for dirty jobs such as this are known to the public. We asked the law enforcement agencies to investigate the perpetrators of this condemnable act and bring them to book.
”I want to recall the instructive words of Justice Williams, who said when you drive men and women from the public arena where debate is free, you invariably send them into the cellar where revolutions are born. It is better to have an uproar than a whisper.”
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