Radio Mast Collapse: Residents Threaten to Sue Akwa Ibom Govt, Station

January 19, 2021
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The Akwa State government and a radio station in the state, Mixx Radio 88.7FM have been threatened with legal action by residents of Shelter Afrique Estate in Uyo over the risk to their lives as a result of the collapse of the station’s transmission mast.

Led by the former Group Managing Director of UAC Nigeria Plc, Mr Larry Ettah, the group has vowed to use legal means to get the state government and the station’s owner, who is said to be an official in the administration to relocate the mast away from the highly populated residential estate because of the danger it poses to lives and property.

The residents also raised several regulatory and oversight issues to justify why such a structure should not have been erected in a residential estate in the first instance.

They have, therefore, filed a petition to the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, the Managing Director, Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company Limited, and Mr Friday Ben (well known as Dollie Popman), the owner of the station, who is also the Special Assistant, Protocol to the Governor.

In the petition, filed on their behalf by the law firm of Victor Iyanam & Co, the petitioners stated that the 110-metre mast located at House KO3 suffered a partial collapse of a 15-metre section on 7th January, this year during a mild shower, which constituted a real and present danger to all homes within a metre radius of its current location.

They are therefore demanding explanations as to the rationale for granting a radio station a permit within a residential estate, particularly a permit to erect a mast of that magnitude, which now constitutes a serious danger to residents.

The residents of Shelter Afrique Estate also alleged that the proprietor of the station abused his power to ensure that regulators overlooked issues of environmental impact and safety in erecting the mast.

They imagined the kind of disaster that might have ensued if the mast was hit by strong winds, when a mild storm as experienced on 7th January had brought it down.

According to the residents, no government agency has shown any interest in the matter, while the radio station is allegedly in the process of rebuilding the mast despite the danger it posed to residents.

The petitioners therefore demanded that the state government restrain the station from engaging in further rehabilitation activities and dismantle and relocate the structure altogether.

If that failed, the petitioners said they would have no other option than to resort to legal action.

The state government is yet to comment on the matter.

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