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13.01.2022 news ‘It’s Not a Crime to Owe Salaries in Nigeria’, News Central TV CEO Tells Broadcaster Owed a Year’s Salary

Published 13th Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

A Kenyan broadcaster has alleged that News Central TV, a television station in Lagos, Nigeria, has failed to pay her the salary she was entitled to while working for the company.

The broadcaster who asked not to be named told FIJ she started working with News Central TV in February 2019 and was owed from March to September 2019, and from November to July 2020 when she resigned due to the company’s inability to pay employees.

As a top staff member in News Central TV in Kenya, her mandate was to establish a satellite office in Nairobi, but this never materialised because of the company’s unwillingness to develop.

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She hired a cameraman and worked for the firm with other Kenyans on her own, but the corporation, she claimed, did not support them with funds.

“We were doing stories for the show, producing news and remitting it to them. But they never supported the office. They did not even register themselves here or give us money to do stories. They never even provided any of that support. We did things with our own money,” she told FIJ.

She said when the company owed her and other Kenyans for a six-month period in 2019, News Central TV expected her and other staff members in Kenya to continue working.

When she could not understand why they owed her salaries, she set out to meet Tonye Adonye-Halliday, News Central TV CEO, in Lagos in September 2019. But Tonya said the company would pay her.

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However, after the meeting with Adonye-Halliday, the company paid her in November 2019 and did not pay her again until she resigned in July 2020.

“In July, I told them I couldn’t work for them again. In 2019, I was the only one who was not being paid. By the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, they stopped paying everyone. At some point, they would pay a portion of one’s salary in instalments, just for people to keep quiet,” she said.

Following her resignation, News Central TV appealed to her to work with them again, but she refused. She just requested that they pay her the salary she earned while working for them, but they did not.

“Throughout last year, they ignored my mail and that of our lawyers. The attitude we get from them is that they didn’t want to pay. I felt extremely frustrated. Even when I was in the hospital, I couldn’t pay my bills and they couldn’t pay me. I think it’s a culture there,” she lamented.

After she and other Kenyans who were owed stopped working with News Central TV, they discovered that Nigerians and South Africans who worked for the firm had left and filed a lawsuit alleging they were also owed.

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“A lot of their former staff members in Nigeria have resigned and gone to court. It is easy for them because they are in Nigeria. But for those of us in South Africa and Kenya, it is a bit harder for us. They’ve been frustrating our lawyers because we’re not there in person, and it’s because they don’t want to pay,” she said.

“When you start asking them for your money, they will block you. I have all the emails and a recording of all the discussions on my money with Tonye in many zoom meetings. Tonye even told me that in Nigeria, it is not a crime to owe people salaries.”

When FIJ called Tonye Adonye-Halliday, News Central TV CEO, she said she would not comment on the issue until this reporter visited her office and that she would not be available for two weeks.

“Come to the office and come and see documents,” she said. “It’s beyond comments.”

Published 13th Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

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