A group, Employment Advancement Rights Network, has condemned the sacking of over 450 staff of American University of Nigeria and Gotel Communications, both owned by former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.
EARN in a statement by its President, Barrister Edward Ogenyi, on Sunday, the group while describing the action as lacking in compassion especially at a time that responsible organisations were holding off on such decisions until after the COVID-19 pandemic, threaten to picket businesses and houses owned by Atiku to register their displeasure at the situation.
To avoid such action, the group warned the ex-Vice President to reinstate the sacked workers.
The statement reads, “As a pressure group of seasoned activists, lawyers and professionals with the sole aim of protecting Nigerian workers, Employment Advancement Rights Network has comprehensively reviewed the sack of over 400 staff of the American University of Nigeria, which is owned by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and almost 50 staff of Gotel Communication, also owned by the politician.
“We have also reviewed the justification for the sack of these Nigerians by the managements of ABTI and Gotel Communication, which both answer to Atiku. The responses to the sack amount to a charade and adding insult to injury. Both organizations sufficiently demonstrated that they place profit over humanity, a policy that could have only been formulated by the owner.
“We wonder why the university and broadcasting company could not, like the banks, wait until after the pandemic before throwing hundreds of workers and thousands of their dependent into poverty, hunger and uncertainty. This callous decision confirmed that the origin of these organisation and the seed fund for setting them up cannot stand up to scrutiny.
“In our view, Atiku has by this action declared himself an enemy of humanity. He is by no means a man that should have a say in the wellbeing of anyone because it is apparent that his only concern is his avarice.
“We caution in the strongest term possible that Atiku must get ABTI and Gotel Communication to recall the sacked staff since they already admitted that these people lost their jobs to the incompetence of the owner and management and not gross misconduct.
“Failure to recall the sacked staff, EARN will launch coordinated picketing in the form of sit-ins, with consideration for social distancing in Atiku’s houses and businesses all over the country. The properties will not only be picketed but would be fully occupied and locked down once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”