By James Ogunnaike
Due to the current adverse effects of COVID 19 pandemic on the economy of the entire world, Nigeria inclusive, the management of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State has put the employment of some of its workers on hold till further notice.
In a letter by its Head of Human Resources, Administration and Procurement, Olanike Ogunleye, the management of the OOPL said the organisation attributed the action to the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic the institution’s business and had found it hard to sustain its workforce.
The ever bubbling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) which has various units including Guest House, Zoo, Cinema, Halls, Bar, Car Wash among others, was battling delay in the payment of salaries before coronavirus worsened the situation, findings revealed.
The letter reads in part, “As you are aware, the current COVID-19 pandemic has had a toll on all our business significantly. This has resulted in making some difficult business decisions. Due to this situation, we regret to inform you that your employment will be put on hold till further notice.
“You are to hand over all company properties in your possession to the human resource department, who shall do a confirmation of the exit clearance process before your final entitlements (if any) would be paid.”
Before laying the workers off on Friday, the OOPL had been alleged to be owing several months of salaries.
A worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “They have been owing salaries since last year. They will pay one and it’s going to be after 3-4 months that they will pay another one. We have workers collecting less than N30,000 and they refer to those collecting N50, 000 as senior staff and they are still owing.
“This year, they have paid just January salary and half of April salary which was paid on 20th of April.”
The source said, ” though, the number of the affected staff is not yet known because this is the first phase which has affected junior workers, which included security and cleaners”.
“The mass sack is an annual event in the organisation, which the source attributed to mismanagement of the facility by members of management, whom he accused of pursuing personal interest’.
He appealed to the federal government or any international body to take over the administration of the facility so that the vision of Chief Obasanjo in fighting unemployment through the OOPL will not die in no distance time.
Speaking with newsmen, The Managing Director of OOPL, Vitalise Ortese, that the decision was informed by the reality of the period, saying “we didn’t make single kobo since March.”
He described as mischief, the report by a section of the online news platforms that the organization “sacks its workers.”
“We didn’t sack anybody. It was clearly stated there, temporary cessation. We have not made a kobo since March 16 or thereabout. No bailout and we didn’t get palliative from the government.
“How do we pay salaries? It’s normal we have to allow people to go temporarily.
“It happens everywhere. Banks are laying off and other organizations have asked people to go home. Everyone is affected, including me. All members of staff are affected. Obasanjo’s children are affected, even Obasanjo himself is affected,” Ortese said.