Staff of the Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Kwara, on Wednesday held a peaceful protest within the premises of the station over poor working condition and lack of necessary working equipment.
It was learnt that the workers also held the protest over the insinuations going round that government is planning to sell the broadcasting house located at No. 2, Police road, GRA, Ilorin which has been in existence for over four decades.
However, in his reaction, the senior special assistant to the governor on Media and communication, Dr. Muideen Akorede, who commended maturity and passion of the workers, said that the stations are back on-air after a fruitful meeting.
The Staff carried placards with different inscriptions such as: “We reject Sole Administrator “, A.M station must exist, Government must not sell Radio Kwara”, We need modern equipment at Radio Kwara”, Radio Kwara will remain shut until government addresses the challenges”.
It was gathered that Radio Kwara which houses both the A.M and F.M stations have been shut down for months, operating skeletal services due to lack of diesel to power the generating sets, while government is owing the station about three months running cost with last year’s outstanding running cost of about four months.
According to them, the lives of staff are at risk with the stations’ bushy environment, while reptiles have taken over the stations, adding that on Wednesday last week a snake was killed inside the live studio of the A.M station.
Meanwhile, government has sent its delegates to meet with the aggrieved workers of the media house.
Among those sent are the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour Matters, Comrade Bisi Fakayode, the NLC Chairman, Comrade Yekin Agunbiade, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Alhaji Mohammed Isiaq Sabi and directors of the ministry with the call on the striking workers to call off the industrial action.
But the striking workers however remained adamant despite the call and appeal by the government delegates, and demanded for the immediate sack of the sole administrator as well as urged the Governor to visit the stations to examine the dilapidated structure of the three media houses.
The governor’s aide, who said that economic challenges in the country had affected government obligation on operational expenses, however, added that a sum of N5 million has been released to the three media houses, namely Herald N1 million, KWTV N1.5 million and Radio Kwara N2.5million.
“Salary payment had been our first line charge. It’s only after salary that we do operational expenses. KWTV is the best in the country with the level of development we have put in place there. We are on refurbishment of Radio Kwara currently. You can check it. AM station equipment is old and some were blown off by thunderstorms recently. Efforts are on to get it going. We just bought new equipment”, he said.
Against speculation that the state government was planning to sell the media houses to private hands, the governor’s aide said that there was no such plan to sell any of its media houses, adding that there was no reason to do that.
“The plan, however, was to migrate the AM station to FM station because of modern technology. When you buy a phone today, you only get only FM stations. More so, the media houses were set up by law and anything that will be done there has to be through House of Assembly”, he said.