Although the Taraba State Government, led by Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, has yet to resolve the current impasse with organized labor, a new group of staff has taken the governor to the national industrial court.
This is not in relation to the failure to enforce the newly agreed national minimum wage of N30.000, but rather to the unpaid 77 months wages of 18 non-indigenous employees of the defunct Nigeria Sunrise newspaper, which totaled over N73 billion.
The court in Jos, Plateau State’s capital, was said to have been given the task of presiding over the event.
The said defunct newspapers, which were established in 2010 by the late governor of the state, Danbaba D. Suntai, went out of business shortly after his incapacitation in a plane crash in 2012, before he was finally called to glory.
The staff, speaking through their lawyers, M.Y Saleh (SAN), bemoaned the deplorable circumstances in which they have found themselves as a result of the state government’s failure to extend the same olive branch that was extended to the defunct newspapers’ indigene workers to those who are non-indigenes.
The eighteen non-indigenous employees allege in their statement of argument, which they sent to our correspondent through their lawyers, that they have been refused pay since the company ceased operations in 2014 and that they have been discriminated against because of their countries of origin.
Affirming that the “refusal of the defendants to pay the salaries and entitlements of the claimants is unlawful,” they pleaded with the court to as a matter of urgency call the defendants to order.
Sad that the defendants discriminated against them on the basis of “our states of origin in refusing to redeploy us in its service and this contravened our right to Freedom from Discrimination as protected by Section 42 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, the court, as pleaded by them, should take their pleas into consideration.
Several efforts were made, according to the plaintiffs, to ensure a round table consultation before deciding to drag the governor and the defendants to court.
“We wrote a complaint letter to the Public Complaints Commission, who in turn wrote to the 5th defendant on the matter, and the 5th defendant, via its Managing Consultant/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), responded on 23/5/2018 confirming our story and who also attached a list containing our names, dates of employment and salaries, among other information, they said.