By Bashir Bello
Kaduna (Nigeria) — Former workers of Arewa Hotels Ltd, a subsidiary of the New Nigeria Development Company, NNDC Monday staged a peaceful protest in Kaduna, northwest nigeria, to demand payment of their entitlements seven years after retirement.
They marched to Secretariat of Nigeria Union of journalists, NUJ Kaduna State Council, lamenting what they described bitter life experience, as a result of the non payment of their entitlements.
The former workers carried Placards with inscription such as “please save us, President Buhari, Northern Govs.”, NNDC pay us our entitlement” and “We are dying, our children no longer go to school”.
Chairman of the movement, Umar Musa said all attempt by members to get the management settle the entitlements issue proved abortive and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Northern Governors to intervene.
“The reason why we take a unanimous decision to come out enmasse alongside sister units, i.e Sokoto hotel, Zaria hotel, Aso motel, NTICC, Hamdala hotel and Arewa Hotel headquarter is, to collectively speak with one voice, to reach out to Nigerian communities – Northern communities, the call was necessitated out of bondage, economic hardship, traumatization, neglect for this period of stagnation.
“This ex-staff contributed immensely to keep the dream and aspirations of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto alive, dedicating their useful age, strength, energy, commitment and hardwork to their fatherland.
“For the past 7 years, after retiring from service, several approach was made to the management and board members for payment of the workers….
“Unfortunately, it has come to our notice that even the existing staff working are in salary arrears of 13th months. In all ramifications this catastrophe has grossly affected we the ex-staff, because currently our wards and dependents no longer earn a livelihood, no decent houses…. rendered our colleagues to die untimely, through heart breaks and blood pressure, among others.
“We are appealing for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Chairman Northern Governors Forum, Distinguished members of the Senate and House of Representatives and the Sultan of Sokoto in the matter.
“Indeed, we the ex-staff are helpless and want to use this medium to solicit for your aggressive approach on this matter, to solve it once and for all, as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, when contacted on the matter, the General Manager of Hamdala hotel and PRO of NNDC, declined to talk to newsmen.
Arewa Hotels Limited started hotel management business in 1975. The business blossomed spreading to management of top ranking hotels in various states across northern region, before losing market. It then diversified into investment, human development and consultancy.
Observers like Muhammad Abdulsalam, are of the opinion that the present company managers lack vision and sense of investment to keep the company alive.
“None of them would want to employ quacks to run the business if it were their personal property. They need to bring in professionals who will turn around the fortune of this company.
“In the early 1980’s, all hotels in northern nigeria were managed by Arewa Hotel, because of their service – today that glory is gone.”
additional reporting by Iliya Kure