Atiku Abubakar: Ex-VP’s media firm allegedly owes staff N97m in unpaid entitlements


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The multimedia company reportedly owned by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Gotel Communications is said to be owing its staff about N97m in unpaid entitlements.

According to reports, the fortunes of the company began to dwindle during the economic meltdown of 2015.

The multimedia company reportedly owned by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Gotel Communications is said to be owing its staff about N97m in unpaid entitlements.

According to Premium Times, the fortunes of the company began to dwindle during the economic meltdown of 2015.

The report says efforts were also made by Atiku to reposition the firm which has a television channel and two radio stations all in Yola, Adamawa state.

The former Vice-President reportedly set up a committee to re-strategise and bring get the company back on its feet.

Sources who spoke to Premium Times say trouble started when all the staff were retrenched and some were reabsorbed.

The told the daily that those who were not called back were given their entitlements but those who were reabsorbed have not been paid a dime.

Nothing has changed despite efforts by the local chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the National Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union (RATTAWU), the report said.

Workers cry out

A worker who commented on the issue said “For example, I work for almost seven days a week running from one task to another, something that ought to be done by nothing less than three staff. I hardly get a day off, throughout the week.”

He also told Premium Times that some of the new staff that the committee employed are not as qualified as the ones who were sacked.

Scaled down operations

The radio station that used  to operate 24 hours, has reduced its broadcast time due to the hardship.

The staff are left with no option but to provide some basic things needed to run programs by themselves.

According to a presenter at the radio station, “As I speak to you, we don’t have internet connection. We use modem, and even the modems are inadequate that some of us have to provide for ourselves.”

“Sometimes, if there is no electricity, we have to be off air as diesel is not always available to power the stations. Finances are now controlled by the committee and the managing director is just there, helpless,” an operation staff also said.

Management reacts

When contacted, the chairman of the restructuring committee, Adamu Modibbo said his team are not mismanaging the company.

He said “Those that are not paid are those that were asked to continue to work. We reabsorbed them.

“In other words, the reason why we said they were disengaged and reabsorbed is that is the nature of the new condition of service because it is the contributory pension scheme.

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“We disengaged them under the former system but reabsorbed them under the new condition of service which is contributory pension scheme. How do you expect us to pay them entitlement when they are still working? Can you pay someone pension when he is still getting salary?”

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was elected as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at the party’s national convention which held in Rivers state.

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