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31.12.2023 Featured Kenyan Africa Equity Owner Withholds Nigerian Journalist’s $1480

Published 31st Dec, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

When Mia Ama (not real name), an Abuja-based journalist, got her employment offer from Muraya Maina Njuguna, the Kenyan owner of Africa Equity Magazine, on February 2, 2022, she never imagined she would work for months without pay.

Ama told FIJ that Njuguna, who employed her as a West African correspondent for the magazine, had failed to pay her a sum of $1,480, the culmination of her unpaid weekly salaries between August and November 4, 2022.

FIJ learned that instead of paying the debt he owed, Ama’s employer resorted to unfulfilled promises.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: For ‘Demanding Due Process’, Katsina PPRO Drag Journalist Before Emir, Brand Her ‘Criminal’

Ama’s contract

According to the job offer that FIJ saw, Njuguna would pay Ama $6 per hour, with payments due every two weeks. Ama said she worked full-time and eight hours per day from Monday to Friday. This means that her total bi-monthly pay of $6 per hour was $480.

“He kept paying until July 2022, when he shared with the team that he was constrained financially and would only pay monthly,” Ama revealed.

Africa Equity’s Instagram Page

From that point forward, said Ama, Njuguna’s payment became delayed and irregular.

“In September 2022, he sent me an email, saying he could not keep up with the full-time pay and said I should work part-time at 25 hours per week instead of the previous weekly 40 hours, and I accepted.

“He had paid July’s salary but owed the full-time pay of $960 for August and part-time pay for September, October and four days in November. The total amount he owed was $2,280.

“In October 2022, he called via WhatsApp and said he would pay up $250 every week from the day he called, indicating that things had got better for the business. I continued working without being paid as I held on to his promises.

“He sent $250 on October 21, 2022; that was the last pay I received till the end of the year. He kept promising but not fulfilling.”

Facebook page of Muraya Maina Njuguna

Ama said despite the lack of payment, she was still working until November 5, when her ex-employer sent her a WhatsApp message asking her to take a break for one month so he could clear her salary backlog.

“I did take the break, and as of that time, he was owing me the sum of $2,030. After the one-month break, he neither paid nor asked me to return to work, yet others in the team kept working.

“I asked if I should resume, and he said I should hold on since he hadn’t paid yet. In January 2023, he sent a message to the team, saying he would have a meeting with us on January 30.

“However, at midnight on the day of the meeting, he removed me from the group without any prior information. He called me on WhatsApp the following day. When I asked why he sacked me that way, he said that he wanted me to work with him directly, and that he didn’t sack me.

“Then he said he would pay on February 10. He paid $250 on February 11 and promised to pay the $1,780 balance in two weeks. I kept calling and sending messages at the said time, but he declined.

“I sent him another message and told him I needed the money, but he blocked me and sent an email that all communication should be done via email.”

READ ALSO: Italian Employer Assaults Nigerian Lady for Demanding Her Salary

Ama’s last pay from Njuguna in June

After that February, the owner of Africa Equity did not pay Ama until April 5, when he sent $150 out of the remaining $1,780. He then owed Ama $1,630 until June, when FIJ reached out to him.

On June 1, FIJ sent a WhatsApp message and an email to Njuguna regarding the payment issue, but he did not respond to either of them. A reminder was also sent to him via WhatsApp on June 2, but it was not acknowledged.

On June 3, two days after FIJ reached out to him without getting a response, he paid $150 out of the remaining $1,630.

Ama said Njuguna promised that he would confirm her next pay the following week. However, six months down the line, Muraya has yet to pay Ama’s $1,480. He has also refused to respond to the journalist’s follow-up inquiries on when he would clear his debt.

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Published 31st Dec, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

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