The staff of the New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN) limited staged another peaceful protest at the company’s headquarters in Kaduna on Tuesday, demanding for accumulated entitlements due to them.
The protesters made a personal appeal to the governors of the 19 northern states, which collectively own the company, to honour their agreement in good time before some of them, especially the paper’s Chairman and Borno State Governor, Kashim Shetima, vacate their seat after elections.
The Federal Government had handed over control of NNN to the northern states around 1996. It has since stopped publication a few years ago and is now operating solely online because more than two third of the owning states refused to pay monthly subventions.
Addressing newsmen at the protest, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), NNN Chapel, Dekera Nicholas, said that there was no better time for the owners to address workers complaints.
According to him, “there was a recommendation by a committee set up by the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) to look into NNN issues and make recommendations.
“That committee has since done with its findings and has submitted same, including its recommendations to the owners for implementation.
“Now, part of the recommendations therein was that, part of the company’s property be valued and disposed so that the proceeds can be used to offset debts, especially workers entitlements, and put the company in good shape.
“While that was ongoing, the pensioners took the company to court, thereby causing a temporary stoppage of the initial plans. Now, that issue of pensioners has been largely resolved. In fact, they are enjoying their monthly pension now.
“So, what we are saying in essence is that, since those impediments have been addressed to a large extent, they should honour their promises. Some of our members are old people. They need money for their medical and utility bills. Some of us cannot pay house rent. We want the owners to come to our rescue,” Nicholas urged.
Protesters were seen with placards with various inscriptions such as, “Pay us our entitlements”, “Northern governors settle our entitlements now”, “Shettima act before you go”, “El-Rufai you can do something for NNN”, among others.