Violent Rainstorm Destroys AIT, RayPower Mast in Bayelsa

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By Akam James

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Barely 48 hours after a heavy rainstorm brought down the mast of the Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation, operators of the Radio Bayelsa, Yenagoa, the mast hosting Africa Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM
Yenagoa stations, has also been brought down by a violent rain storm that swept through Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Although buildings around the premises of the stations situated at Elebele community were not affected and no casualty recorded, the incident severely affected their operations keeping the media outfit off air.

The rainstorm, which started around 12:25 noon Wednesday, was accompanied by strong wind that lasted for over 20 minutes, before sending down heavy down pour.

Also destroyed by the rain storm are electricity distribution lines along Otiotio road and a gigantic billboard around Julius Berger flyover Yenagoa.

The few traffic lights on Hospital Road junction and trees on popular Sani Abacha road were all destroyed by the storm.

Billboards on major junctions in town were not also spared.

John Jacob, a senior reporter and Rotimi Robinson, the Head of Production and Programs at the station, who confirmed the accident, said they didn’t notice that the mast had fallen until after the rain because of the loud atmospheric noise that came with the violent storm.

He said, “It is unfortunate that this incident happened when the rain was falling. We were inside when we suddenly lost signal but we didn’t feel the impact that pole had fallen. So it was our driver who went out after the rain that called our attention to the fact that the mast has fallen.”

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, expressed shock at the extent of devastation at the state-owned broadcasting corporation, Radio Bayelsa, following windstorm that led to the collapse of its mast.

The storm wreaked havoc on buildings and other facilities within the premises.

Senator Diri, who went on an on-the-spot assessment of damage at the radio station in Ekeki, Yenagoa, described it as a natural disaster and a great loss.

The governor, in a statement by his acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, noted that the collapsed mast did not only serve Radio Bayelsa but also Radio Nigeria’s Creek FM and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Yenagoa.

His words: “We are all amazed and really shocked with what has happened while we are still grappling with COVID-19 disease. It is a natural disaster and there is nothing anyone can do.

“We came here the other time when there was fire outbreak and when the station was destroyed by hoodlums. Today we are here to personally see the destruction caused by rainstorm, which brought down the whole mast serving not only Radio Bayelsa but also Radio Nigeria and NTA Yenagoa.”

He, however, expressed gratitude to God that no life was lost.

Senator Diri, who sympathised with the management and staff of the station, assured that his administration would work out the modalities in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and the station’s General Manager on either a short term arrangement or construction of a new building to enable the workers perform their duty.

“We will make comparative analysis on the short term arrangement and the long term on building a new station. After a meeting with the experts and doing the comparative analysis, we will come up with something either to do the short term or to go for a new station.”

Senator Diri was accompanied on the visit by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere, Deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Peter Akpe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information. Mr. Freston Akpor among others.

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