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VIDEO: Inside Two-Camera LTV Where News Can’t Be Cast Once It’s Night

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These are hard times at Lagos Television (LTV), UHF 35, the Lagos State government-owned broadcast station, as staff morale is low due to a continuing deterioration of facilities, FIJ can report.

Once a television station that harboured the hopes of competing with its private counterparts, or at least staying not too far away from them, things have now gone so bad that some of the station’s long-serving staff are wondering if this is indeed the end of the road for their careers.

FIJ’s findings show that a number of the station’s equipment have suffered from wear and need to be replaced for effective operations.

In the past year, the station’s terrestrial broadcast suffered repeated loss of viewers, as it is often off air due to a lack of electricity and diesel to power its generators.

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On Saturday, for example, a combination of power outage and a lack of diesel meant the station went off air from about 8pm until Sunday.

“Our 8 pm news failed on Saturday. We were off air because we did not have diesel,” one staff member who asked not to be named told FIJ.

“Our Outside Broadcasting (OB) van is mere decoration; it is not working. Our terrestrial platform is our strength for generating income, but it has been dead for over one year.”

FIJ understands that the last time LTV got operational vehicles was during the governorship tenure of Akinwunmi Ambode, which ended in 2019.

N50MILLION TO BUY TWO CAMERAS, FEW FURNITURE

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Darkness inside LTV just on Saturday. The station went off air as a result.
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Staff of the television station were happy in 2021 when the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu showed interest in giving the place a facelift. However, the state government bizarrely spent N50 million on the purchase of only two cameras and a few furniture items.

“We are still using the teleprompter bought by Lateef Jakande [Governor of Lagos from 1979 to 1983],” one staffer said. “That is the only one we have.”

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“The lack of diesel has negatively affected the terrestrial service for longer than I can remember,” the conerned staff member continued.

“It has been off for God-knows-when. I can’t even say how long, and the problem is diesel.

“Most of our viewers are terrestrial. If you go to Badagry, go to Ikorodu, Epe, everybody there is on terrestrial. We should be on terrestrial.

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READ ALSO: Two Years After Receiving N2.26m, Lagos Dealer Olatunji Davies Has Not Delivered Customer’s Car

“We lose money, we lose viewers; our subscribers are on terrestrial, but they don’t get to see us. Our OB van has cameras, but the cameras have no lens. They have not been used for one day.”

STAFF UNION, MANAGEMENT’S RELATIONSHIP STRAINED

On March 4, 2022, The Radio Television Theatre & Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) wrote a letter to Olusina Thorpe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Lagos State, accusing him of declaring a war against their members.

They said they had twice sought audience with Siju Alabi, General Manager of LTV, but she ignord them on two occasions; meanwhile Thorpe, whose audience they simultaneously sought, invited them each time.

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“In pursuit of industrial peace, we wrote to the General Manager on the 16th of February 2022, and highlighted all the concerned issues,” read a part of the letter sighted by FIJ.

“The General Manager disregarded the letter, [but] the permanent secretary invited us on the 25th of February 2022 for family discussion.

“To our dismay today, 4th March, 2022, before the commencement of the meeting, you [the PS] dispersed the meeting, which is synonymous to declaring a war against the entire members of the two in-house unions (NUJ and RATTAWU).”

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FIJ learnt that during a meeting between the NUJ, RATTAWU and Thorpe later in March, a resolution to repair the relationship between workers and Alabi was reached.

“The Director, Service Matters/PSO, informed the management that approval for bailout would be granted and phased out, but the management needed to deduct and remit immediately in order to avoid debts,” the resolution read in part.

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“She further advised the general manager to always run an open-door policy with the union members. Likewise, the union members show respect to the general manager and desist from badgering with her.”

Siju Alabi

FIJ understands that one reason for the strained relationship with Alabi was that she was hiring contract staff with discriminatory pay packages, and incurring heavy financial cost.

Among the resolutions was a decision for the state government to help fund diesel purchase for the station. The NUJ and RATTAWU then demanded 12 items, including vehicles/operational tools, pension arrears, health insurance scheme, maintenance of vehicles/mechanic and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

They also demanded new operational vehicles (barter), monthly deduction to reduce pension arrears, freelance, terrestrial TV (Ikorodu), attention of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to LTV, National Housing Funds, and contents and programmes.

A CALL FOR HELP

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“Please save the future of past and serving members of staff of LTV,” another staff member told FIJ.

“Please help us. Lagos is richer than Ogun State. Go and check OGTV; compare them to LTV. OGTV is directly under the Governor’s office; putting LTV under the ministry of information is killing the station because they reason like ‘ministry people’ to the detriment of broadcasters.”

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When FIJ asked this particular employee about the recent renovation, this was the response: “The renovation, though shoddy in some aspects, was a big relief. However, state-of-the-art equipment and staff motivation remain an issue.

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“The schedule of a media house is complex, with round-the-clock transmission. But LTV lacks basic amenities to compete favorably with its competitors, which means staff are practically required to perform magic. There is the basic problem of lack of a staff bus, resulting in staff being left to their fate when closing at odd hours.

“The monthly subvention of N1million from the state government is shocking; the staff wage is about N35million monthly. Perhaps the government picking the wage bill might unshackle the station from its fetters.

“Experience has proven that LTV staff possess the wherewithal to compete with their peers in other stations, and do so much more, but technology drives broadcasting in the 21st century.”

GO TO LTV NOW, IT’S BETTER’ — AKOSILE, THORPE

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When FIJ contacted Thorpe for comments on the situation of the station, he said the station was back on air and in better shape “than the news that was being spread”.

He also advised the FIJ reporter “to visit LTV and see things for himself”.

He however declined further comments on the contents of the resolution with the unions.

Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu’s chief press secretary, told FIJ the governor had made significant contributions to the station, and the terrestrial TV was working fine.

On the strained relationship between the unions and Alabi, he said, “Not everybody will like the way you lead.”

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Akosile also denied the claims of the station’s members of staff and said LTV was better than before.

FIJ made several phone calls to both Siju Alabi and Gbenga Omotosho, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, but they were not answered. They had also not responded to text messages sent to them at press time.

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FAD boss, Temitope Duker, losses dad, Hon. Ayodele Benjamin

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Honourable Ayodele Benjamin, a distinguished chieftain and party leader of the ruling Lagos All Progressive Congress (APC) political party passed away on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at the age of 78.

Throughout his illustrious life, Hon. Benjamin served his community and country with unwavering dedication and distinction.

His numerous esteemed positions included being elected Councillor in the late 80s, former Vice Chairman, and later Acting Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government Council, former Chairman of the Lagos Football Association, former Board member of the Lagos State Sports Council, and former State Treasurer of the Social Democratic Party.

Hailing from the esteemed Benjamin family of Olowogbowo in Lagos Island, the late politician left behind a legacy of service and commitment to the betterment of his community. His contributions to public service and sports development will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him.

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Until his death, he was also a community leader, philanthropist, and devoted Christian, who worshipped at the Methodist Church Olowogbowo Lagos, a generational church of the Benjamin family.

His dedication to faith and service touched many lives, creating a lasting impact on those around him.

In a statement released on behalf of the family, Hon. Benjamin’s daughter, Mrs. Temitope Duker, a filmmaker and co-founder of FAD MEDIA GROUP, which owns FAD FM 93.1 in Calabar, FAD FM 101.7 in Abuja, and FAD 360TV, announced that final burial details will be communicated in due course following a family meeting.

Hon. Ayodele Benjamin is survived by his loving wife, daughter, and three grandchildren. The family requests that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

Organised Labour has rejected President Bola Tinubu’s claims that an agreement has been reached on new national minimum wages in his nationwide broadcast to make Democracy Day.

Tinubu had claimed that a consensus had been reached on the long-debated new minimum wage between the Federal Government and organised labour.

Also read: Minimum wage talks collapse again as Labour rejects N60,000

In his national broadcast to mark the 2024 Democracy Day in Abuja on Wednesday, Tinubu revealed that an executive bill will soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the new minimum wage agreement.

The President emphasised that his administration chose a democratic approach over dictatorship in addressing the demands of labour unions.

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However, in a statement on Wednesday, the acting President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said there was no agreement reached by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage at the time negotiations ended on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Adeyanju stated that rather, two figures such as N250,000 from Organised Labour and N62,000 from the government and Organised Private Sector, were arrived at and ought to have been submitted to the President.

The labour leader asserted that anything to the contrary was not only doctored but won’t be accepted by Labour.

The statement reads, “We reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation Wage. We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty.

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“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) attentively listened to the Democracy Day Presidential address delivered by His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially concerning the ongoing National Minimum Wage negotiations. While the President may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

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“To quote Mr. President; “As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict. No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups. However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who were in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

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“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix-up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage. We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

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“President’s advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed. It is therefore important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. Series of media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.

“Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the Government and despite denials, recent statements by senior officials of the Government reaffirmed our fears contrary to the assurances by the Government. However, we remain assured that the President’s democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.”

This response comes after President Tinubu’s address, which indicated a resolution had been achieved on the wage discussions, thereby causing confusion and discontent among the ranks of Organised Labour.

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The President speaking on his plan to fix the economy so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour, said, “In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

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“No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.”

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Crime

Inspector sentenced to death for killing phone dealer

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The Delta State High Court sitting at Asaba on Tuesday sentenced Inspector Ubi Ebri of the Nigeria Police Force to death on a murder charge.

The court presided over by Justice C. D. Diai convicted and sentenced the Inspector to death for killing a phone dealer, Mr Onyeka Ibeh, in Asaba.

 

Also read: Delta police arrest inspector for shooting boy during stop and search

 

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Ibeh, a popular phone dealer in Asaba, along with his wife was driving from Ugbolu to Asaba on April 5, 2023, when they were flagged down by the police team for a search.

The deceased was said to have stopped but after waiting for a while to be searched, and they were not being attended to, decided to move away

Infuriated by the action of the deceased, the police inspector immediately opened fire into the vehicle and the bullet hit the late Ibeh on the head and he died on the spot.

The wife of the deceased who sat in the front seat was unhurt.

The killing of the phone dealer led to protests by youths along the streets of Asaba and to police headquarters to demand justice.

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However, the prosecution, led by a director in the Ministry of Justice, Mr E.H. Edema, accused the policeman of killing Ibeh.

Edema alleged that the defendant was part of a police patrol team that mounted a stop and search exercise on April 5, 2023, along the Ugbolu Asaba Road in the state capital.

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Edema who told Journalists after the judgement said, “Today’s judgement is a landmark judgement because justice has been served in this case to the deceased and society at large.”

Also, the elder brother of the deceased, Mr Ifeanyi Ibeh, who witnessed the judgement, also commended the court for delivering justice to his family.

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