Leaders and Company Limited, publishers of THISDAY newspaper titles, have begun the payment of salary arrears owed staff of the company.
The payment of the salary, which is in fulfillment of the pledge made by the company’s Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Nduka Obaigbena, began with one month salary in the first instance.
However, there was a twist to the payment of the one month salary as the company paid the salary for March, skipping those of January and February.
A top source within the company told The Eagle Online that the staff were shocked and embarrassed when their banks alerted them on Friday that they had been credited with salary for March 2013 without a word from the management on those of January and February.
The source said that this has been the operational patter of Obaigbena once he is owing the staff.
The source said: “Our biggest fear now is that like it had happened in the past, our chairman may end up not paying either the January or February salary or both.
“This is the trick he uses in deceiving the world that he has paid us.
“Or how do you convince anyone that you have not been paid January and February salaries when the voucher for that of March is made available to the public for scrutiny.”
Sources within the company said this had happened in the past when Obaigbena owed the staff about a year’s salary.
The staff were said to have forfeited a month’s salary in the process as later months were paid, with the earlier months ignored.
One of the sources added: “After we complained and some of the older arrears were paid, we had no choice than to forfeit one month salary.
“It affected all of us.
“What we will now experience is that April 2013 salary will soon be paid while no one will make mention of the January and February salaries.
“I can assure you of that.”
Staff of the company had cried out over the salary arrears when two key staff died owing to their inability to pay their hospital bills while the company owed them.
After a two-part story on the ordeal of the staff of the company by The Eagle Online, Obaigbena, on Thursday, in a memo, announced that he was set to pay the outstanding salary.
He said the company’s finances had not been the same since the attack on its Abuja office by members of dreaded sect, Boko Haram.
However, the staff felt bitter that despite this claim, Obaigbena was pumping funds into his new project, Arise Television.
A source within the company said the biggest fear of Obaigbena was that the company would be picketed next week by the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the printers’ union, NUPPROW.
The source said: “The idea is that when the leaders of these two unions come in next week, the company will present to them the voucher of the March salary, creating the impression that the company is up-to-date in salary payment.”