The Evangelist news edition, Tuesday December 5, 2023. By Solomon OKPO
In its bid to adequately inform the populace about government activities, the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo sited media houses, both radio and television, in all states of the federation.
In Akwa Ibom, the Atlantic FM took off in Uyo and is still on air while the Nigerian Television Authority Station located in Eket has remained an abandoned project till date.
Consequently, a socio-political group in the area, the Ekid People’s Union, has expressed its concern over the abandonment of such an edifice which they see as a worthwhile and people-oriented project with enormous potentials for socio-political development of the Ekid Nation and Akwa Ibom State.
Dr. Samuel Udonsak who is the president-general of the group, during an inspection tour of the facility, lamented that such a project is left to rot only after completion.
He called on relevant authorities to, as a matter of urgency and expediency, commence the reactivation of the station in line with the ongoing digital switch-over in the information sector.
He fumed: “We cannot allow such a huge and viable investment to waste when it could have satiated the hunger and genuine need that exists for an NTA station in Ekid Nation”.
Udonsak added that the union would be pleased to partner with the NTA with a view to addressing any obstacles or impediments that may be, to the reactivation of the station, and called on the NTA management to embark on a fact-finding and audit tour of the facility to ascertain the status of the equipment so that the station can be put to use as soon as possible.
The host community threatens to expose accounts staff of the Nigerian Television Authority who fraudulently diverted the N36 million meant for the station unless the station takes off as in other states.
N36 million was facilitated by Senator Helen Esuene and it has been confirmed to our reporter that the Accounts Department of the Nigerian Television Authority received the money but are yet to use it for the purpose it was meant.
In his reaction, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, Rt Honourable Nduese Essien, who attracted the station to Eket during his tenure, said that the equipments in the station were planted when he was a minister of the Federal Republic while the station was built during his tenure in the National Assembly.
The elder statesman wondered what went wrong for such an edifice and information centre to be abandoned after completion.
Investigation reveals that staff who were posted to the station many years ago are still on salary but without a place of work, and no reason has yet been given for the abandonment of the NTA project in Eket.
For the records, the NTA station in Eket was built and equipped by the Federal Government more than 15 years ago through the representation of Chief Nduese Essien when he was representing the Eket Federal Constituency in the National Assembly.
The station was fully equipped, staffed, test run, but curiously abandoned before commissioning.