…Want Minister to investigate N400m 2023 Budget Allocation
The aggrieved sacked staff of Abuja Film Village International Limited (AFVl) have appealed to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike to reinstate them after they were unjustifiably dismissed by the former Managing Director Mrs Francisca Ibezim.
They also called on the minister to immediately investigate Four Hundred Millions Naira (400 Millions) allocated in the 2023 budget for the AFVI by the National Assembly.
Habila Isa Kayit, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved Sacked Staff of Abuja Film Village while briefing journalists in Abuja, said they were employed on a full time basis as staff of AFVI FCT and some of them have been under the employment of the agency for over fifteen (15) years but their appointments were suddenly terminated in 30th September, 2022.
Kayit lamented that nothing was given to the 27 unlawful sacked film village staff other than their statutory monthly salaries and one month salary in lieu of the termination.
According to him, we wish to convey with dismay the unlawful termination of the employment of the Staff of Abuja Film Village International Limited by its then Managing Director, Barr. Mrs Francisca Ibezim.
“We were fully employed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and had enjoyed every privilege that comes with the employment.
“We were invited on the 30th September, 2022 through a notice for staff meeting but received the greatest shock of our lives as the entire staff was issued termination letters with no specific reason for their action.
The 27 aggrieved staff demanded that the Minister of the FCT, Barr. Wike to wade in and intervened as the father of all on the injustice mated on them by the immediate past managing director.
“We demand for the immediate reinstatement of the unlawful termination of our employment and appeal for the full payment of our salaries and arrears over the time of the unlawful disengagement. We wish to state explicitly that the outstanding salaries arrears paid to us before the termination can never be paid off package as posited in some quarters. Therefore nothing was given to the unlawfully sacked film village staff other than our statutory monthly salaries and one month salary in lieu of the termination.
“Owing to the current economic realities and inability of the film village to pay our salaries from January till September 2022, we wrote an appeal letter to request payment of our arrears and we received an invitation for a meeting. We were at the meeting venue where we received the shock of our lives with an outright termination letter with one month salary in lieu of notice with no other benefit. However, no AFVI Staff was ever indicted for any form of misconduct whatsoever and at no point was anyone invited to face any disciplinary committee.
“We call for the immediate investigation of the Four Hundred Millions Naira (400 Millions) allocated in the 2023 budget for the AFVI by the National Assembly
Kindly note that Abuja Film Village as at now has no single permanent staff as the then Managing Director, Mrs. Francisca Ibezim was the only staff and has been relieved of her job by the Honorable Minister. Therefore, we call for urgent intervention as government properties and resources cannot be trusted in the hands of contract staff.”
He lamented the hardship of the aggrieved sacked staff in form of meeting up with family needs and the AFVI management is sending them to the street after putting up their most productive years.
“The film village project is an economic spinner, a job creation magnet, employment driver and a sure plug revenue generation. Government must ensure that the film village concepts are sustained for the good of the country and the economy.
The Abuja film Village International (AFVI) is a subsidiary of Abuja Investment Company Ltd (AICL), an agency of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) envisioned to make Abuja and by extension Nigeria the centre for film and entertainment excellence. Over 5,000 hectares of land was allocated for the project in Kusaki and Yanga Districts of Kuje Area Council for the actualization of the Abuja Film village project from inception.
The Abuja Film Village was established as a limited liability company duly incorporated with the corporate affairs commission in August 2008.
“However, we do not enjoy attracting negative publicity to the administration which we are also a part of. As a result, we have followed all administrative channels to seek reinstatement but all to no avail hence the resolve to cry out for help,” he said.