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Exposed! Vision FM on N40m Katsina State Govt’s Payroll – Dr. Mahdi

…The station faces quit notice in Kaduna.

 …Accused of selling N15,000 airtime for abuses. 

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A private Radio Station, otherwise known as ‘Vision FM,’ is reportedly on N40 million payroll of Katsina State Government.

The Kaduna State office of the Vision FM, Vision Media Services Limited, located at Kudan Road by College Road, Ungwan Dosa, is also facing severe notice of vacation by the property owner.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dialogue Group, Dialogue Global Links Ltd, and owner of the building occupied by the Vision FM in Kaduna, Dr Muhammed Mahdi Shehu, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Kaduna during the week.

Dr. Mahdi said, “Well, I do know that the chairman is on government payroll. Vision FM is being paid N40 million quarterly for programs and such other payments coming officially from the Katsina State.”

According to him, “Between the Vision FM and Katsina State Government, it’s a matter of ‘who pays the piper, dictates the tune,’” adding that miscreants and thugs loyal to government are paying N15,000 for 10-15 minutes’ airtime to rain abuses on him and his family.

Dr. Mahdi expressed surprise that when he offered to pay N2 million for one hour online phoning program from Kaduna Station to address some of salient issues raised by opponents in Katsina, it was even rejected, describing it as unprofessional and unethical of media industry.

Trouble started 3 years ago when Dr Muhammed Mahdi Shehu gave out his personal building with furniture to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Vision FM, Alhaji Umar Farok, on rent-free (at no cost), for radio station.

Mahdi explained that, Farok allegedly cried to him for help because of threat to withdraw his license obtained by National Broadcasting Commission for not operating.  .

Farok, according to Dr. Mahdi, commenced transmission, and on a fateful day, called on him to be going to Vision FM, which is more of his own, for his interview programs instead of Freedom Radio he frequently appeared.

Although, Dr Mahdi responded that he attended radio interview programs only on invitation, the Vision FM chairman insisted and, therefore, directed his General Manager, one Lere, to invite Mahdi for an interview program.

Surprisingly, a bill of N100,000 was sent to Mahdi 14 days after appearing at the interview program, from Vision FM management staff, to pay as the cost of attending the program, but was rejected by Mahdi even after verifying the authenticity of the bill.

Mahdi lamented that, shortly after that, Vision FM Radio in Katsina suddenly became a platform used by miscreants in Katsina to rain abuses and insult on him and painted him red and black, but refused to allow him and his people airtime to also react even with money to pay.

According to him, during his interview programs, he dwelled on budget tracking in the state to create awareness to mobilize people in the grassroots to be conscious of government responsibility to them.

Apparently angered by the FM actions, Dr Mahdi gave a one-year quit notice to Vision FM chairman to vacate his property given to him free-of-charge in Kaduna. 

Mahdi said he later reduced the notice downward to four months when discovered that the station has no Antenna or Maths that take more time to dismantle.

According to Mahdi, he therefore took physical possession of his property by embarrassingly removing the roofing of his building because it was also due for renovation after many years of use.

On the next line of action – as Vision FM insisted in occupying the property until taking to court after quit notice expiration – Mahdi said as a License “C” occupant, with rent-free, Vision FM does not deserve a long period notice, stressing that its conduct would determine the next line of action to be taken, but declined court action since no tenancy agreement was entered into between them. 

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