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Outrage trails bombing of radio station, Tao FM in Kogi

By John Akubo, Lokoja
05 May 2015   |   2:00 am
WHO would have imagined that some enemies of development were lurking around to destroy what has always brought peace to the people of Kogi Central.

The bombed station

Youths stage peaceful protest as monarch urges police to fish out perpetrators

WHO would have imagined that some enemies of development were lurking around to destroy what has always brought peace to the people of Kogi Central.

“Oh! The voice of Ebira people, the source of enlightenment for the community has been destroyed without recourse to posterity! “ This was the lamentation of a human rights activist and a veteran journalist, Alhaji Adoke while reacting to the recent bomb attack on Tao Radio station, a community radio owned by Ovidi Communications Limited.

Another man, who relocated from Borno State over activities of Boko Haram, said the incident was a sad reminder of what drove him away from the North East. “Here I am in my own town where I thought I would find peace, the same fear of the heavy sound of bombs is tormenting me again.”

The restive youths in the area had sheathed their swords ever since the radio started enlightening the people on the things they needed to know. Misinformation became a thing of the past because they could hear accurate news in their own dialect.

Such restiveness, especially during elections, had since shifted to other parts of the state that still lack such facility. It is on record that more than 10 years ago, the buster station of confluence radio situated at Otite in Adavi Local Council, was shut down for reasons that up till today, is still begging for answers.

Since then, Ebira people had been relegated the background, as there was no means of communication within the communities. This dearth of sources of communication prompted some sons and daughters of Ebira extraction, who believed that communication was vital to human existence, to pull their resources together to establish the Tao FM, whose major objective was to sensitise and educate the people.

To achieve this feat, the Governing Board of the radio station, headed by an astute businessman, Alhaji Momo Jimoh Bajahson , the Shettima of Ebiraland, employed a seasoned journalist, Halimat Salihu, to manage the station.

The station, which strictly adhered to the tenets of broadcasting, received a Letter of Commendation from the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), a week after the general elections for its objectivity in reportage during and after the elections.

While the staff of the radio station were still expressing their enthusiasm to put in more efforts to earn more commendations, a dark Monday fell on the station as unknown gunmen entered the premises of the station, killing four staff members who were preparing to close for the day around 7.30p.m.

However, the ugly incident, which threw the entire Ebiraland into pandemonium, could have been prevented if the police had responded to the distress call put across to them at their Kuroko Police Station.

The station’s Head of News disclosed that immediately he sighted the gunmen entering the premises, he rushed to a nearby police station but, regrettably, the policemen on duty turned down his complaint and asked him to call the Commissioner of Police who stays 65 kilometres away from the scene of the incident.

He wondered why the Nigeria Police, whose responsibilities include protection of the lives and property of the citizenry, could act other wise when the people were being attacked and killed by unknown gunmen.

The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, who visited the radio station, vowed to give security agents in Kogi State a helping hand to unravel the perpetrators of the bomb blast and the killing of innocent souls.

The first -class Royal Father said hoodlums and assailants had been terrorising the land and getting away scott-free, vowing that this recent inhuman act would not be allowed to go unchecked. According to him: “This attack has created a dent to the integrity of the entire Ebira land and the state government.”

He indicated that the radio had been serving the people and the staff members had been doing what the people did not expect in the area of sensitising the community on how best they can live together in harmony.

“The peaceful elections conducted across the land a few weeks ago was the handiwork of Tao FM. The station is never biased in their reportage.

Why should somebody harm the people working there and even kill some of its workers? Enough of these killings on this land.” “As a traditional ruler, I will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet.

The perpetrators of this heinous act must be uncovered and be made to face the full wrath of the law.” While calling on the Kogi Command of the Nigeria Police to live up to its billing in the provision of adequate security for lives and property, the Royal Father charged them to intensify efforts in investigation and information gathering to enable the police apprehend the killers.

The monarch asked for more police posts in the Central Senatorial District as the people staged a peaceful protest to express their grievance over the bombing of the station.