Bayelsa TV abruptly ends live programme after guests criticised government’s inefficiency

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

The management of the TV station is yet to give official reason for the abrupt termination of the broadcast

The management of Bayelsa State Television, on Tuesday, stopped a live programme after the invited guests berated the state government’s handling of the victims of flood disaster.

The one hour long programme at the state owned television station, called Gloryland Television, was terminated after 25 minutes when Tamarakuro Oweifie, the General Manager, directed the programme’s anchor to draw the curtains.

Mr. Oweifie told PREMIUM TIMES he would explain the reasons for the abrupt end of the programme after “he finishes with his investigations.”

Subsequent enquiries were not responded to.

End of discussion

Morris Alagoa, one of the invited guests at the programme said that he was surprised at the sudden decision to end their discussion.

“We have not even attacked the state government, just saying it the way we saw things in our impacted communities and administration of the relief camps,” said Mr. Alagoa, an environmental activist.

Mr. Alagoa and Godwin Ebbeli, another activist, were billed to speak on the flood situation that has ravaged several communities across the Niger Delta region.

While Mr. Alagoa, who had visited several of the communities, spoke on the impact of the flood on the people; Mr. Ebbeli focused on the state government’s handling of the situation, especially the funds released for the victims.

“He (the general manager) thought we will speak like government officials,” Mr. Alagoa said.

In addition to the N500 million provided by the Federal Government to mitigate the disaster, the Bayelsa State Government had approved N1.5 billion from the state’s coffers, according to Mr. Ebbeli.

The state’s House of Assembly had also approved a supplementary budget of N16 billion in the aftermath of the disaster.

Mr. Ebbeli questioned the government’s handling of the funds, adding that it had not reached the real victims of the flood.

That was when the TV station’s management felt they had gone too far.

“First of all they stopped the program as if it was the usual breaks for commercials.

“Then a staff came into the studio and told us, especially my fellow guest, Sir. Godwin Ebbeli that the GM (General Manager) is not comfortable with some statements we were making about the government,” Mr. Alagoa said.

After the commercial break, the programme resumed.

However, a few minutes into the segment, a hand written signal appeared through a glass screen directing the moderator, Joyce Ogiowon, to end the programme.

“When we came out of the studio, some of those watching it from outside expressed surprise too; why the programme ended the way it did,” Mr. Alagoa added.

It was not exactly clear why the programme was ended abruptly but there were indications that Mr. Oweifie acted on orders from above to secure his job.

While he apologized to the guests over the incident, the general manager did not give reasons for his action, which also reportedly angered other members of staff.

“Be rest assured that the programme will take place on a day we all agree,” Mr. Oweifie, a former staff of the Nigeria Television Authority, said in response to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry.

Mr. Ebbeli said that the main issues after the water recedes would be how to cater for new housing settlements to entire communities displaced by the flood as well as health problems.

“We are not in the habit of hoarding the truth from the public,” Mr. Ebbeli said after the programme.

“The truth must be told no matter how offensive it is.”


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  • Innocent

    Bayelsa or North Korea?! I thought all Nigerians had freedom of speech?

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      Not on a state radio. Build your own station.

      • Dan Kano

        @Awusa: how much do they paid u? shame and ur children will pay for ur blind support

        • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

          Your children dey shame already since you can’t read sarcasm. Use your brain and read between the line. Half Illiterate.

          • Enemona

            I can’t but feel pity for you. Read all your responses and how hard it is for you to sell a bad product. Have you checked your BP lately? It would be advisable you do so and fast. Honestly, I would not want to be in your shoes.

            Brother, that job of yours is one hell of a difficult one. Working normally to make a living is in itself a difficult job but selling a bad product to make a living is many notches harder. I hope your hustle pays you well cos you’re really ‘hustling’.

          • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

            Very cheap shots and so typical of you. But who cares? First, given my extremism for free speech, I will be the last to accept the conduct of Bayelsa Radio. I have merely pointed out the way all state governors see their state stations, irrespective of party affiliations. Given your skewed upbringing, i can understand why you believe any body not agreeing with you, is paid. I have a different view from you. Get it straight!

            Our people are already getting the message that the so called opposition is worse than PDP. Why do you think PDP got more votes than ACN in Ondo guber a week ago?

          • Enemona

            Need I say more about you, rent-boy? I wasn’t talking about PDP or any party but you’ve inadvertently shown your hands!

          • Enemona

            Need I say more about you, rent-boy? I wasn’t talking about PDP or any party but you’ve inadvertently shown your hands!

            Yes, my upbringing is so positively skewed, I’m not your average brainwashed and myopic individual and unlike you, I do not reason from my backside.

            “I have merely pointed out the way all state governors see their state stations, irrespective of party affiliations” Another poor logic yet again. Do you know who owns the stations? The people, the taxpayers in the states are and they deserve to hear all sides of the story and not just the government side. They, in the spirit of freedom of speech, deserve to hear even the voice of dissent and it is not the right of governors to turn a public good into a propaganda machine for their sole interests.

            I don’t know if this is hard to understand but you should know that the viewpoints that you’ve championed, ranging from the purely mundane and the absurdly bigoted, leaves no doubt as to who you work for. Don’t engage in self-deceit, we’ve found you out, so poof!

          • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

            you are appalling.

  • NAGODI_1

    TIME HAS COME. SOON THERE WILL BE NO HIDING PLACE FOR CORRUPT OFFICIALS FROM THE TRUTH.
    MAKES ONE WONDER WHAT WILL ADVOCATES OF A PRESIDENT FROM THE SOUTH-SOUTH WILL NOW SAY.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      If we follow your logic, no one will from Saminu Turaki’s political zone should be allowed to be President. Isn’t?

      • NAGODI_1

        WELL I THOUGHT THE WHOLE CLAMOURING WAS TO HAVE A PRESIDENT THAT WONT RULE LIKE SAMINU TURAKI OR ALL THE OTHER THIEVES FROM THE NORTH AND SOUTH WEST. THIEVES LIKE IBB, ABACHA AND OBJ. YOU SEE MPITI, SOME NIGERIANS LIKE MR. EBBELI HERE FROM BAYELSA WILL CALL A SPADE A SPADE. OTHER CRUMB-CATCHERS LIKE YOU WILL CALL A FOOL AND A MORON, PERFECT PRESIDENT SINCE YOU CATCH THE CRUMBS HE DROPS.

  • emomotimi

    What insensitive, wicked and irresponsible government. Anyway I have always said it, nothing good can come from Niger-delta. Even if Nigeria splits today, no meaning development will ever take place in that region because they will now start to fight each other. How will you explain a region where majority of the people live in abject poverty yet a governor is busy spend $50M to buy a private jet

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      yea they will fight themselves because they are mad people. all other nations that split have immolated themselves.

  • angryniger

    what do you expect from people who are busy enriching themselves from the misfortune of victims of the flood. The so called monies released for the flood victims will end up back in there pockets, let them stop and stiffle people all they like, but their day of reckoning draws nearer, just like in Tunisia, Egypt, they will end us worse than Gadaffi, we will trample over them just as they are doing the poor masses now.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      U fit protest? Go siddon.

  • kayode Olufade

    what do you expect from a state sponsored station? state control! Biting the hand that feeds you has proven most detrimental in Nigeria

    • Enemona

      Like the governors biting the hands (the taxpayers) that feeds them (the governors).

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    No. your clamoring is to impose a sharia president. we are saying no, we can manage Jonathan, thanks.