Staff of the Atiku Abubakar-owned TV and radio station, GOTEL Communications, have lamented the non-payment of their salaries since September. Gotel is the largest media organisation in Mr Abubakar’s group of companies.
It operates television, radio, and other multimedia platforms, covering largely the northern parts of the country Mr Abubakar is considered the second-highest employer of labour in Adamawa after the state government.
Apart from Gotel Communications and Adama Beverage, the former vice president also owns the American University of Nigeria and Rico Gado feed mill factory.
Prior to September, the workers groaned under hardship after three months (July, August and September) of non-payment of salaries. Gotel Communications, which is the only private radio and television station in north-east Nigeria, retrenched about 50 per cent of its staff at the peak of Nigeria’s economic recession in 2016.
Some members of staff who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday said since the first rationalisation in 2016, no new condition of service was introduced at the station.
They said the station is yet to be restructured, the reason the Gotel Restructuring Committee gave for laying off staff in 2016 “Staff are in limbo as to what condition of service is applicable. Are they going to rely on the old one or what? The staff that were retained (after the rationalisation) were not paid their entitlements) to date.
“There has not been a single promotion since the establishment of the organisation. The majority of the workforce had no single promotion since they accepted an appointment with the organisation. No, career development courses for operational staff, etc. Of all Atiku’s businesses, Gotel Communications Limited is the only one passing through such difficulty,” said the sources who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.
They also said the current pattern of salary payment is not palatable to staff.
“You don’t know when the next salary will come, hence, staff cannot plan. Staff of Gotel Communications Limited are being owed October, November, and December salaries,” they said.
“The founder of Gotel Communications Limited, Alh Atiku Abubakar, has done his best for the station, as the station has been single-handedly financed by him 100 per cent. However, the latest developments cannot be determined by the staff of the organisation. Is the station winding down? The staff need to know their fate.”
A top management staff told this newspaper on Monday that the payment of two months’ salary arrears were made (on Friday), while the other months will be made in January. But the workers discountenanced his claims, saying they were yet to receive their salaries as at press time Monday afternoon.
Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser to Mr Abubakar, told this newspaper that he could not comment on the issue because he is no longer on the board of Gotel. Meanwhile, repeated calls and messages to the MD of Gotel Communications Limited, Mohammed Elyakub, by PREMIUM TIMES were reported by the news media as unanswered.