From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Workers Of New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN) on Wednesday cried out to the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong to pay the staff of the company their accumulated salaries and other benefits to prevent further hunger and deaths due to their inability to access quality healthcare services.
The northern pride newspaper outfit, owned and managed by the 19 Northern States, has been operating skeletal publications for close to two decades due to obsolete array of equipment and funding.
The workers in a joint statement jointly by Comr Friday Idoko, Funmi Aderinto, Usman Nasidi and Emmanuel Bello as Chairmen and Secretaries of the in-house unions decried the slow pace of a process they noted was initiated in 2017 to sell assets of the company to pay off salary arrears of staff and other benefits, many of whom had died awaiting their unpaid wages of over 100 months owed by Northern State Governors.
The statement revealed that some huge amount of money had been realised from sales of the company’s property, urging the plateau state governor to promptly order disbursement of the sum to workers of the company to alleviate their hardship.
The statement however commended the efforts of the Northern Governors for ensuring the payment of the company’s pensioners who had worked when the company was under the federal government.
The statement read in part; “the Joint Workers’ Union of New Nigerian Newspapers in its Congress held October 25, 2022, is appealing to the Chairman of Northern State Governors Forum (NSGF), His Excellency, Simon Bako Lalong to expedite action on settlement of workers entitlements.
“The Joint Union comprising of members of Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ) and National Union Of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Union Workers (NUPPPROW) New Nigerian Chapel expressed worries over workers’ plights due to non-payment of salaries for many years, resulting to depression and deaths of over 103 staff awaiting their entitlements.
“We are appealing to Governor Simon Lalong as a compassionate leader and head of Northern Governors to use his good office to put smiles on our faces and those of our families by ordering a prompt payment from the available resources realized from sales of the company’s property.
“We have been through a lot of hardship; many of our compatriots have been ejected by their landlords, many could no longer pay their children’s school fees, and many have died due to one form of ailment or the other as a result of economic bottlenecks.
“We have so much confidence in your effective leadership built on selflessness, passion to serve and commitment to the welfare of your subjects.
“It is our collective conviction that our appeal will receive the attention it deserves”.