Posted by News Express | 16 August 2018 | 1,694 times
The Bayelsa government on Wednesday said it was compelled to shut down its television station, the Niger Delta Television (NDTV) to pave way for test flights at the N90 billion cargo airport, shutting residents who may watch the event on terrestrial television.
Hundreds of staffers of the station are therefore cooling off at home have been made redundant.
The airport, which according to Bayelsa government officials has passed 95 per cent completion, is slated for inauguration on Aug 27 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was gathered that the indefinite closure of the station was to reduce the communication mast of the broadcast house located near the airport’s 3.5-kilometer runway to comply with aviation standards.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson Commissioner for Information who confirmed the development on Wednesday said he personally visited NDTV on Tuesday to inspect the ongoing work on the station's mast.
The staggering cost of the project conceived in 2012 has raised concerns amongst observers in Bayelsa who question the frequent upward review of the contract figures from about n25 bn to the current N90 bn.
The Commissioner explained that the mast is being reduced to 300 feet to pave way for the commencement of test flight operations and the commissioning of the Bayelsa International Airport.
Iworiso-Markson said, without the reduction of the mast, flights cannot operate as the NDTV is located at the corridor of the airport.
He explained that, due to its importance, the government decided to suspend the operations of the NDTV and apologized to the station's viewers.
The Commissioner described the ongoing work as highly technical and encouraged the technical team to ensure that, they meet the deadline for the completion of the work.
"The mast from the report I’m getting from the team of engineers, who are working on it, they are saying that at the end of this month it will come down to 300 feet.
"Hopefully there will be test flight at the airport so airplane can land at the airport.
“The Mast at that time will not constitute any kind of obstruction, as we are hoping and believing that the engineers will not fail us as they have promised not to.
"We have to evacuate the staff of NDTV given the danger that it poses to our workers. It is part of our pro-activeness to ensure that, we do everything to safeguard the lives of people especially workers here.
"I want to ensure safety first. It will be a tragedy that anything happens to anybody here. Much as we want the mast to go down as quickly as possible, it is important to put safety first.
“We have taken measures to ensure that utmost priority is given to safeguard the lives of everyone here.
“That is the reason why it is taking us time for the mast to come down but the antenna has come down already and other items will follow,” Iworiso-Markson said.
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