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Coronavirus: Olanipekun’s NewCruise FM breaches contract, sacks 13 workers

Barely three months of existence, about 13 staff of NewCruise 92.7 FM, an Ikere-Ekiti based radio service owned by a respected legal icon, Wole Olanipekun, have breached the contract by sacking 13 workers without following due notice.

Many journalists and other staff of media houses in Nigeria have continued to suffer the loss of their jobs or sent on forced leave as part of measures to cope with the impact of COVID-19, a report has shown.

NewCruise FM is a division of WOLDAB Communications Limited owned by the former President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).

Mr Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Asiwaju of Ikere-Ekiti who was Buhari’s lead counsel in 2019 Presidential election petition launched the first radio station established outside Ado Ekiti.

It started operation in March and went on full transmission on April 14, 2020.

Barely, few months of operation the hopes of about 13 workers were dashed when the management of the radio station terminated their appointments without giving them due to notice as signed in the employment letter.

According to the employment letter obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, it states that “Either party can terminate the employment by giving one month notice or paying one month salary in lieu of notice. However, the employee reserves the right to terminate the employment on any act of misconduct on the part of the employee.”

CAMPUS REPORTER gathered that the sacked staffs appointments were terminated without the payment of last month salary.

When CAMPUS REPORTER obtained the sack letter which was issued on May 31st, 2020 and distributed on Monday to the affected staffs, the organization did not specifically state the reason for the termination of their appointments.

However, it says that their services were no longer needed as a result of the recent reorganization.

“Sequel to the recent reorganization of the establishment, I regret to inform you that your services are no longer needed.”

“Kindly handover the company’s property in your care to the Administrative Officer, while wishing you all the best in your future endeavour.”

One of the sacked workers confirmed to CAMPUS REPORTER on the phone that he was among those sacked.

He said: “The sack is the worst decision ever the management made. The effect is that it has a downturn on health, economy and couples of things. For me, it showed ill-preparedness on the proprietor of the organization. Probably he was ill-advised.”

“The station is barely four months, it started operation in March, to lay people off barely three months shows that you are not prepared for it.”

He further said that most of them left their previous works after the organization promised a better offer.

“For that thing to happen even in the lockdown in this period when most of the persons who got the job had their job on hand.

“They came down they were not under threat before they left and the chairman did say during the training, he said he will look for the money for six months and keep it somewhere and he said it emphatically that he can guarantee that in the next six months nothing will touch anybody’s salary and the station started operation in March”

He added that the core professionals were sacked but people from Ikere-Ekiti who were non-staff were retained.

Another sacked worker disclosed to CAMPUS REPORTER that their salaries were slashed in March and April.

He also revealed that the management has announced that the salary of May will be slashed too.

“It’s a total breach of the agreement also and it’s very bad for a new radio station,” he said.

Radio station reaction

Speaking to the NewCruise FM Head of Station, Jide Ogunluyi on phone, he denied that no staff was laid off.

When confronted with the sack letter signed by the station’s Admin Officer, Babatunde Daramola, he said “well we have no Babatunde Daramola. Is that clear?”

Refuting Mr Ogunluyi’s claim, a sacked officer confirmed Mr Daramola is the admin officer of the radio station.

“Ahhh That’s a blatant lie. Babatunde Daramola is the admin officer,” he said.

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