The Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) said on Friday that it would privatise the ailing New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN).
The Chairman of the NNN Committee set up by the forum and governor of Sokoto State, Malam Aliyu Wamakko, disclosed this while addressing aggrieved staff of the company in Kaduna.
Wamakko told the workers that it was the position of most of the governors that the company should be privatised to rejuvenate and allow it to compete favourably with other media organisations in the world.
``We have come to understand that most successful media organisations are being run by the private sector and so is the position of most of our governors,’’ he said.
The chairman assured that the forum would take a final decision on the matter at its next meeting.
Wamakko also assured the workers that their 12 months outstanding salaries and allowances would be paid in the next two weeks through donations made by governors from the region.
He said the committee would collect and remit the N1.3 billion pledge by the Federal Government in the next one month.
Wamakko, however, explained that the grant would be used to settle liabilities incurred when the Federal Government took over the operations of the company.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the forum had during its March 8 meeting in Kaduna appointed Wamakko to lead five other governors of Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kogi and Kaduna States to reposition the NNN.
The Managing Director of the company, Malam Tukur Abdurahman, thanked the governors and the Federal Government for their concern over the plight of the organisation and its serving and retired employees.
Abdurahman,who urged the workers to resume work pending the final resolution of the problem, pledged their continued support and cooperation to the government.
NAN reports that the workers have been on an indefinite strike since Feb. 7, to press home their demand for improved working conditions and the operations of the organisation.
The employees had on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest demanding for the payment of their 12 months’ salaries ahead of the governors meeting.
The workers walked through the major roads of Ali Akilu and Muhammadu Buhari Way in Kaduna metropolis to press home their demands.
Mr Ibrahim Adamu, the Chairman of the NUJ Chapel of the newspaper, told NAN that employees of the company were dying because of ``excruciating poverty,’’ adding that their children were out of school.
Adamu appealed to the forum to urgently settle the debts and reposition the newspaper.
The Chairman of the NNN Joint Workers Union, Mr Sa'idu Bello, said 270 employees were owed about N130 million, excluding six years arrears of pensions and gratuities. (NAN)