By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The take off of test transmission by Prince Jedy Agba owned 95.5 City FM in Calabar has again elicited another attempt by the state government to shut the station down.
It will be recalled that the station which was initially billed to begin transmission in October 2016, was forced to delay take off after the Cross River state Ministry of Lands served them a seal notice over sundry land issues related to the property housing the station at the state housing estate, near former Mega Hilton hotel, owned by governor Ayade.
Resumption date was shifted to November of same year but still did not see the light of day due to the lingering face off between the state government and the owner of the radio station, Prince Jedy Agba.
The delay in the commencement of transmission also saw a lull in the antics and pressure from the Ministry of Lands to seal the building over reasons the Ministry has refused to comment on.
Now pressed by the ultimatum handed some FM radio licensees by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission NBC, to either begin transmission or have their licenses withdrawn, City 95.5 FM had to hurriedly commence test transmission in other to meet the dateline and avoid NBC’s hammer.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that once their signals hit the airwaves, some top state government officials were immediately rattled and renewed moves to seal the building which is just right beside the residence of Governor Ayade’s younger brother, Mr. Frank Ayade.
A seal order, was served on the station last week, while officials of the state Ministry of Lands also moved in to tie a red tape around the gate of the building.
The Director of Town Planning Department in the State Ministry of Lands, Mr. Abubana, who signed the seal order which was sighted by this reporter, confirmed that a seal notice was served on the station but declined further comments when CrossRiverWatch contacted him. He referred our reporter to the Commissioner for Lands.
When our reporter visited the station building, there was no sign of any recent activity in the building. The premises appear shabby and queit with last year’s seal notice still inscribed on the fence. One security man was also sighted at the gate. The red tape had also been removed but it was not immediately clear who removed it.
But despite the spirited effort to stop the station from taking off, the signals are still on air.
CrossRiverWatch reliably gathered that the test transmission is not done from the building but from an Outdoor Broadcasting (OB) Van placed in an undisclosed location in Calabar.
This has however affected signal quality and radius reach of the signals as sources involved in the operation of the test transmission told CrossRiverWatch tha the OB van transmitter can only cover 25km radius.
It is not clear what the issues warranting the intended closure of the station are as both the management of the station and government officials are unwilling to tell the press but most people who have reacted to the developmet say the reasons may not be unconnected to the lingering political differences between the state governor and Prince Goddy Jedy Agba.
Jedy Agba contested alongside Senator Ben Ayade in a very bitter race for the governorship ticket of PDP in the 2015 general election. The duo reconciled just before the general election and Agba became the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Ayade Campaign before decamping to APC in 2016.
City 95.5 FM becomes the third private FM station in Cross River state after Patrick Ugbe owned Hit 95.9 FM blazed the trail, followed by Fidelis Duker’s 93.1 FAD FM which is also still on test transmission.