Staff and NUJ members of Gotel, Atiku's company, have denied a Premium Times report that they are being owed backlog in salaries.
Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ) and the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union(RATTAWU) chapters of Gotel Communications Limited, Yola, Adamawa State, have denied a report by Premium Times.
The report alleged that the company, owned by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is owing members of staff months in salaries.
In a statement sent to Pulse, the unions also described as wicked, the claim in the said report that the former vice president has a carefree attitude towards the company.
In the statement jointly signed by the chairmen, RATTAWU, NUJ, Mohammed Ahmed Mustapha and Muhammad Aliyu Mustapha, respectively, the union said the true position of events at Gotel Communications is that “those who were dis-engaged completely were paid their severance allowances.”
The union also said that those who resigned did so based on their personal interests of searching for greener pastures and were not disengaged as claimed by Premium Times.
The statement is reproduced below, unedited:
The attention of the leadership of the Gotel Communications Limited chapters of the above named unions, has been drawn to a publication by an online news medium, PREMIUM TIMES, dated October 8 to the effect that ‘the staff of the multimedia organization, owned by former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are currently in distress over owed severance benefits and delays in payment of salaries.
It equally claimed that ‘crisis was brewing in the media outfit due to unpaid entitlements following the disengagement of the staff’s previous appointments’. The said publication further blamed the situation on what it called the founder’s ‘carefree attitude’.
Following the above allegations, a joint meeting of NUJ and RATTAWU chapters of Gotel Communications Limited Yola, Adamawa State reacts as follows:
a. That it is untrue that our members are in distress over non-payment of severance benefits.
b. That the dis-engagement and re-absorption exercise took place in 2016.
c. That those dis-engaged completely, were paid their severance allowances.
d. That the re-absorbed members of staff were issued with dis-engagement letters and payment of the terminal benefits is ongoing, according to the understanding to implement the payment plan in phases.
e. That the statements credited to the Chairman of the restructuring committee to the effect that, the management would not pay the re-absorbed workers their severance allowances is diametrically opposed to the reality on ground at GOTEL Communication as payment has since begun in phases.
f. That those who resigned did so not because of the situation in Gotel, but in search for greener pasture, which is normal and obtains in every organization.
g. That members of our unions are not being owed one month salary as speculated in the poorly investigated report. The organization is up-to-date in terms of salary payment.
h. That it is tendentiously wicked for anyone to speculate and or allude that our founder , His Excellency Atiku Abubakar is carefree about his businesses.
Only ignorance or outright mischief could have contrived such allegation as NONE of the three stations, FM radio, AM Radio and Gotel television has gone off the air for one day in its ten years of operation.
We also advice the promoters and or sponsors of the said story to desist from seeking political capital from scenarios they imagine would advance their parochial cause, no matter how banal such causes may seem.”
71-year-old Atiku Abubakar has emerged President Buhari’s major challenger ahead of the presidential election slated for February 2019.