Members of staff of Olugbemi Unique School, Angwan Makama, Masaka, in Nasarawa State, on Wednesday dragged their proprietor, Jimmy Lagundaye, to a Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court over alleged non-payment of three months salaries.
The complainants – Eze Susan, Kemi Soje, Amina Obor, Ojo Jumoke, Abonyi Amalis, Patience Ogede, Abdurazak Isah, Uver Charles, Amos Ebhohen, James Tor, Noel Blessing and Pauline Opeh – were all present in court.
They averred that they were on monthly salary at the school and they worked for three months, but the proprietor refused to pay them their salaries.
They said that they approached Lugundaye in respect of the issue, but he made several promises to the Education Inspectorate Office, Area 1, Masaka.
Other bodies, he made promises to pay to were Karu Local Government Area, Social Welfare, Honorable Chairman of Karu Local Government and Masaka Police Station, but failed to pay.
They alleged that the accused said that even if the School ran down, he had nothing to lose as he would turn it to a mini estate.
The complainants said that all their efforts for the accused to pay them their salaries totaling N579, 000 proved abortive.
They prayed the court to help them recover their monies.
The complainants’ counsel, Mr Innocent Maagi, told the court that the offence of criminal breach of contract and cheating contravened Sections 381 and 322 of the Penal Code.
Maagi urged the court to use its discretion in the case, stressing that his clients were all family men and women and this was their only source of income.
Maagi prayed the court to give them a short date to hear the case.
The accused, however, denied the allegation, stressing that they were not telling the truth.
The Magistrate, Mr. Victor Manga, admonished Lugundaye to pay them their salaries if really he owed them.
“There is a saying that the labourer is worthy of his wages; anybody that worked must be paid, if you don’t have money, you can negotiate with them as well because we are all humans,” the judge said.
Manga granted the accused N500, 000 bail with one surety in a like sum who must be a civil servant on grade level 14.
He said that the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and must deposit his two passports photographs in the court.
The Magistrate ordered that if he failed to meet the requirements, he should be reminded in Keffi Prison.
He adjourned the case to March 9 for hearing.
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