The multi-million naira studio of Oyo State-based investigative broadcaster and activist, Oriyomi Hamzat, has been razed by fire.
The fire also affected his office located along the Iwo-Ibadan Road in Monatan area of Ibadan, leaving Hamzat in deep loss.
Hamzat has been an ardent critic of the state government, an act that got him arrested on the orders of the immediate-past governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
Irked by the reporting of his corrupt activities, Ajimobi in 2018 ordered operatives of the Department of State Services to arrest Hamzat, while broadcast equipment he used for his online radio were seized by the security agency.
The fire, which started from the roof of the studio, raised suspicion of involvement of the government in the inferno.
Narrating the incident, Hamzat said he received a call from one of his staff, who alerted him to the incident.
He stated that broadcasting equipment worth over N70m were destroyed in the inferno.
He said, “I was on air doing my public enlightenment programme and at 11am when I signed off from the programme, I received a call from one of my boys informing me about the fire.
“He said he was climbing the stairs going to the studio when he heard a sound from the studio.
“He ran into the studio and when he opened the door to the place, there was a fire and he couldn’t go in. He jumped down from the second floor of the building to escape the fire.”
Hamzat disclosed that the cause of the fire was unknown as all power sources in the building were turned off.
He lamented that he was unable to take any equipment or gadget from the office as the fire started from the studio.
He said, “I could not pick a pin from all we installed in the office. We are talking about N70m to N100m.
“I have some high-end investigative equipment which I bought for N7,000,000 and kept in the office.
“I intended to use the equipment for some investigation when I launch the radio but everything in the studio got burnt and I could not pick a pin from the office.
“We have perfected the plans to migrate from online radio to terrestrial radio.
“Our studio is Nigeria Broadcasting Commission standard, which we made use of NBC accredited engineers.
“What we were waiting for was the final approval and license from the NBC.”
Director of Oyo State Fire Service, Moshood Adewuyi, who confirmed the incident, said his officers were alerted to the fire around 11am.
He said, “It is true that the studio of the online radio station caught fire this morning; the place was under locks and keys when our men arrived the place.
“None of the workers of the radio station were around at the time of the outbreak. You know, a studio is always padded with foam, that aggravated the fire.
“The transmitter, the studio equipment and office materials at the station were damaged by the fire.”