*Detained, disclaimed, harassed the staff
*To face law suit for treating staff badly, owing salaries
Barrister Omileye Olamide Ayoola, lawyers to a former staff of Leadership newspaper Mr. Durojaiye Hassan, has said that its chambers have concluded plans to drag the publisher of the newspaper, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, to the National Industrial Court over N4.8million salary arrears.
Aside owing Hassan the sum of N4.8million salary arrears, Mr. Nda-Isaiah had also refused to pay Hassan the commission from the 400 pages advertisement he single-handedly secured for the newspaper from the Kogi State government.
The Pharmacist turned publisher, who is one of newspaper publishers known for treating their staff shabbily, aside his non-payment of salaries also subjected Hassan to all forms of Police harassment, intimidation and detention.
For more than a week now a full page advert of ‘Disclaimer’ has been running in the newspaper against Mr. Hassan.
Addressing judiciary correspondents in Abuja over the weekend through his lawyer, Barrister Olamide Ayoola, Hassan, urged innocent members of the public who may not have known the genesis of the crisis to disregard the disclaimer advert in the newspaper.
“Mr. Nda-Isaiah is known for cheating his staff when it comes to the issue of their welfare. He decided to start running disclaimer adverts against me simply because I refused to be cheated.
It was gathered from reliable sources, that Nda-Isaiah called the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, who is his kinsman on phone to intimidate and harass me despite being cheated.”
He said all the adverts placed by Kogi State Government is about N100million out of which he only paid a month salary for all his staff.
Adeleye explained that Hassan who was employed by the newspaper in 2011 until he resigned voluntarily in July 2017 had three years outstanding arrears of his salary to the tune N4.8 million unpaid.
The lawyer, however, said his client fell apart with the newspaper when Hassan, through the good relationship he had established in the past secured a 400-page advertisement from Kogi State government to the tune of N45.5million.
“The payment for this advert was done through Hassan’s personal account. The monies were paid into his account in his individual capacity and not as a staff of Leadership newspaper but more or less as an agent through which they could have paid the assignment through other newspapers since he became a free agent after his resignation from the newspaper in July, 2017.
“In the course of this payment, some monies were lodged to my client account which he appropriately remitted to Leadership newspaper and took less N3million as commission which was an agreement between him and management of the newspaper. This N3million was a token out of the contract worth N45.5million.
“The explanation for this is that he paid N39.5million into Leadership newspaper, took N3million as agreed between him and the management of the newspaper and another N1million which was supposed to be given to the Kogi State government house staff to facilitate the payment as agreed and approved by the management of the newspaper as well.
“My client also took N2million, part of the salary arrears, this was also done with the agreement of the management of Leadership newspaper” the lawyer stated.
Hassan said after he deducted the money from the money paid by the state government, Nda-Isaiah asked him to return all the money deducted that the company will pay him his dues.
According to Hassan, he asked him to put it in writing, a request, Nda-Isaiah declined.
Hassan’s lawyer expressed shocked that instead of honouring the agreement with his client, Nda-Isaiah resorted to intimidating and harassment of his client with the police.
“My client was harassed, arrested, intimidated and detained by the police for no crime committed under our laws. As a law abiding citizen, he has always made himself available at every given time as requested by the police force” he added.
Meanwhile, Hassan has expressed surprise over a full-page disclaimer the newspaper carried in his name.
The disclaimer, according to the lawyer has projected his client’s image in bad light.
He said his client has received several calls both locally and internationally asking him what he had done to have necessitated such disclaimer.
“On the disclaimer, we have today sent a letter to Leadership newspaper making various demands prominent among which is his salary arrears, the illegal deduction made on his salary for all the years he had worked with the paper.
“His one year salary which was taken from him over advertisement he knew nothing about should be paid. We have all the evidences and facts to prove all these. These are facts that will be clear for the court to see when the time comes.
The issue of staff unfair treatment in Nigeria has become so common. This battle should not be treated lightly because if this should happen to Durojaiye today, it can happen to anybody tomorrow”.