Abubakar Yunusa Abuja
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Thursday, slammed Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, and his colleagues, for withholding the over 100 months entitlements of The New Nigerian Newspapers workers.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, blamed the death of 100 workers of the company on the non-payment of their salary arrears and other benefits by Northern Governors.
The group said it was unfortunate that the Governors were enriching themselves with public funds, driving bulletproof cars with billions budgeted for their feeding allowance in the 2023 budget estimates that they are all submitting before their various Houses nof Assembly, yet they won’t pay workers their entitlement.
At a press briefing this week, leaders of the in-house Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Union Workers, on behalf of hundreds of the denied workers, said over 100 members have lost their lives to sicknesses while awaiting their withheld salaries as their children could no longer attend schools.
They lamented the slow pace of the process initiated in 2017 to sell assets of the company to pay off salary arrears of staff and other benefits and wondered why some company’s assets had been sold, but there was no move to pay workers’ entitlement.
They called on Lalong, to as a matter of urgency, to intervene and order disbursement of the fund to workers of the company to alleviate their hardships.
Onwubiko, while reacting to the disclosure, said: “The development is a sordid menace and embarrassing to Northern Governors who have no iota of shame in the first place. It is condemnable that the Northern Governors are enriching themselves at the expense of the masses and neglecting pensioners and journalists owed accumulated wages to be dying.
“Governor Simon Lalong, who incidentally is an All Progressives Congress Governor and the Director-General of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, should as a matter of alacrity, ensure the payment of these entitlements as the Nigerian electorate are watching the maltreatment of workers by the APC. A labourer is worthy of his wages.”