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After fire incident, AIT returns to airwaves

By Yemi Olakitan and Tony Nwanne
31 December 2009   |   3:59 am
DAAR Communications Plc, owners of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio stations, has expressed its gratitude to all those who helped in quenching the fire that gutted its Lagos station on Tuesday. In a statement signed by the company's Director of Corporate Communication and Planning, Mr. Johnson Onime, the broadcast media empire thanked all and sundry that fought gallantly and ensured that the fire did not destroy the station entirely. The station has since returned to the airwaves. Specifically appreciated was the quick intervention of men of the Nigerian Police force, Federal Road Safety Commission, men of the Fire Service, which prevented the inferno from immense damage.

The company expressed its appreciation to the Lagos State Government, particularly, Governor Babatunde Fashola, who released the yet to be commissioned fire service equipment and supervised the efforts of the fire service men from his office at Alausa in Ikeja.

The statement reads: “On behalf of our Chairman – Aleogho Dokpesi, the Board of Directors, Management and the entire Staff of DAAR Communications Plc, we wish to express our heartfelt gratitude first and foremost to the good Lord for the protection of lives, while all and sundry labouriously and gallantly fought to put out the fire which lasted for about two and a half hours.

“Secondly and most passionately is our appreciation to the Governor of Lagos State – Babatunde Raji Fashola, who released yet to be commissioned Fire Fighting Trucks and also coordinated the exercise from his office in Alausa – Ikeja. We also thank the Lagos State Government Executive Council for their promptness in deploying men and equipment to battle the ravenous fire. To the gallant men and women of the Lagos State Fire Service, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Force Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command – Mr. Frank Mba, who personally supervised the salvaging exercise, the DPO of Meiran Police Station – Mr. Festus Otabor, his men, officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission. Civil Defense, Lagos State Health Management Service, the Comptroller of Lagos State Fire Service who led the team, our colleagues in the media both print/electronics and members of the public, we are indeed eternally grateful for the most treasured assistance.”

As reported earlier, a combined team of fire fighters, policemen and officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission battled the inferno on Tuesday and rescued the main studio of AIT, Lagos from total ruin.

The fire, which started around 3.24pm, affected one of the major studios of the station, popularly known as The Dome, “including all the Cameras, Lighting equipment, the Cyber Studio, the Cyber Control, Acoustics fixtures and several other broadcast facilities,” said Onime

Shortly after the fire fighters succeeded in quenching the inferno, Onime promptly assured that the incidence would not affect the station’s national operations.

According to him, the cause of the fire incident has not been ascertained but the matter is under investigation. The station was particularly thankful that there was no loss of life. Daar Communications Plc has experienced series of travails in the last 15 years of its broadcast operations but it has always triumphed over them. One of such travails was a fire incident that gutted its transmission studio at the Labour House, Central Business District, Abuja in 2002. The incident was described as the handiwork of saboteurs, who considered the station as the mouthpiece of opposition parties to the government in power at the time.