Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
As the Delta House committee on Information began to look into the petition written by the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) chapters of the Radio Television Theatre And Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Media Assistant to the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Sam Ijeh says it is not true that the Commissioner, Chief Patrick Ukah was summoned by the committee.
Ijeh made the clarification based on our story on the petition with the headline: DBS Warri: Ukah summoned to Delta Assembly committee over allegations of incompetence, possession of OB van; it’s wild allegation, says media aide.
Ijeh disclosed that at no time was the commissioner summoned, although he confirmed the existence of the petition in which the writers alleged incompetence against him in the unfolding DBS Warri debacle.
However, at the meeting today where the House information Committee Chairman Mr. Tim Owhefere met with the leaders of RATTAWU and NUJ chapels of the broadcast station, even though banneronlinenews.com was prevented from covering the event by Mr. Owhefere, a journalists, it was gathered, however, that the chairman acknowledged the receipt of the petition, with a promise that his committee would take a critical but careful look at the issues raised in the petition.
Sources also hinted that Owhefere said the committee would also reach out the General Manager of the DBS, Mr. Tunde Omonode and his team of managers, as well as reach out to the Commissioner of Information headed by Ukah, and other officials of the Ministry with a view to getting to the root of the matter and finding lasting solution for peace to reign.
Banneronlinenews.com also gathered that more facts to buttress claims and allegations made in their petition titled: “Near Collapse of Delta Broadcasting Service, Warri, and the Urgent Need For Government Intervention to salvage The Station, further submitted to the Information House committee Chairman at today’s meeting.
Union officials also told banneronlinenews .com that the petition was the only next option open to them to take to save the DBS Warri from imminent collapse and head-off the staff lay off consequences that may follow if nothing was done. Said a staff: “DBS Warri is in comatose; no equipment to work, poor work environment, staff frustration occasioned by lack of equipment and materials to work, and the absence of work satisfaction for the workers. No Outside Broadcast Van (OB van) for the station, while government pays other television stations huge amounts of money for the coverage an event, such that what is paid to other television stations for an event coverage can conveniently buy an Ob Van for the station. Just recently only four TV cameras were made available to the station. A drop in the Ocean.”
For instance, another Union leader talked about the station not having air-condition in the studio to help keep the few manageable equipment sustained, but the office of the General manager is always chilled with the cold weather oozing from his well kept air condition.
Answering another question, the Union leader stated that reports and complaints have been made to the Honourable commissioner of the Ministry as the supervising Ministry, but that since nothing good was forthcoming from his end the petition to call the attention of the government to intervene became the last resort to save station from going the way of the Delta Glass industry, the Delta Line among other parastatals of the state government.
“We have well qualified mass communication graduates in the NUJ DBS chapter, and theatre Arts graduates in RATTAWU, but the unconducive working environment occasioned by poor management of men and resources was frustrating and tending to kill the station,” the union leader said.
To him, it is curious why government officials will pay so much to rival television stations, causing them to thrive economically, yet, they neglect the state-owned radio and TV station by not extending to them the same patronage they give to the rival stations.
According to them, the House Committee has slated the next meeting with Mr. Tunde Omonode and his team of managers for their side of the story.