Bankruptcy: Court Orders Sales Of Popular Jos Hotel To Pay Ex Staff BenefitsLatest News, News, News From The State Saturday, June 20th, 2015
From Agabus Pwanagba, Jos – Following a court judgment in favour of retirees of the popular Hill Station Hotel Jos, all moveable property of the hotel, were Friday taken away to the Industrial Court in the State capital as ordered by court.
The Hotel is one of the early hospitality centres in Plateau, which started operations in 1934 and remained a major player in the sector for decades.
However, for over a decade now, the hotel has become a shadow of itself.
Counsel to its retirees, Linus Shingshak who spoke to journalists as its properties taken away, said, “Last year precisely in December, about 19 of the Retirees of Hill Station Hotel Jos, some whose appointments were terminated and those that resigned, were not paid their severance benefits.
“After instituting an action at the National Industrial Court, we got judgment.
The Counsel maintained that, they had earlier received a similar judgment at the Federal High Court, yet the management of the hotel refused to cooperate with them.
“So presently we are executing the judgment that was obtained last year at the National Industrial Court.
“As you can see, we are together with the officials. We do not have the power to enforce the judgment on our own, its caution to the order of court, that is why we are here, we are protected by the court, it is the court that are enforcing the judgment on behalf of the judgment creditors.
“The issue of enforcement is governed by the Sheriffs and civil processes act. After the enforcement of the judgment and have sealed the properties now, it is left for us to apply to the National Industrial Court for the sale of the attached properties.
He further explained that, if after they have sold the moveable properties and the amount realized did not reach figure expected, then they would have no option than to auction the immoveable properties which are the physical structures, after applying to the court.
Giving an estimate of the amount secured by the judgment for the retirees, Shingshak said, “To the best of my knowledge it is in the region of N90 to N100 million, that is the judgment obtained by our own law firm”.
Some of the retirees Thomas Agile, Abdul Mukaila among others, who spoke to AFRICAN EXAMINER lamented that they have retired for over four years now, but were yet to be paid their benefits.
Oko Godwin a 63 year old retiree said, “I have worked here for over 22 years, but after I was retired in 2010, I’m yet to receive my retirement benefits.
“My children have to drop out of school, because I cannot pay their school fees, as I speak to you I’m very ill, some of my colleagues who had retired or were retired had died, because of the deplorable situation they had found themselves.
“So we thank the court and pray that funds raised from the sale of the properties will help alleviate our sufferings”. He bemoaned.
AFRICAN EXAMINER also gathered that workers of the hotel are being owed 20 months’ salary.
Reacting to the court order, General Manager of the Hotel, Mildred Best, said, “I’m surprised, because we know cases of staff who retired voluntarily on their own, knowing that the hotel was not doing well, so they resigned to go and seek for greener pasture.
“To our surprise and dismay, they went to court and they were granted judgment in their favour. Even when the judgment was granted, we tried to speak with their lawyers to see how we can pay in installments, because the Hotel was not doing well, and we agreed with our own lawyer that we are going to file a motion for installment payment of N500,000 monthly. We started that last week. So I’m surprised to come and see this, because we were given receipt for the N500,000 paid. She lamented.
“I expect that if their Counsel is refusing to take that agreement, he would not have received the N500, 000 in the first place, so I’ m surprised to see them packing our things”.
Mildred also confirmed that it was true that staff of the hotel were being owed 20 months salaries, but blamed that on poor patronage, due to the civil unrest that has bedeviled Jos metropolis and its environs.
As at the time of filing this report, all moveable properties of the hotel have been taken to the court, and the packing was supervised by armed policemen.
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