Kaduna Textiles, Hamdala Hotel, Others: The Dying Legacies of Most Cerebrated Premier
Perhaps, more than anybody else, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, hit the nail on the head recently when he challenged leaders of the northern region to stop hiding under the shadows of the late Sardauna. The Emir said they should rather be alive to their responsibilities and work to live like Sardauna did.
The Sultan spoke in Kaduna at the 50th commemoration of the demise of the late Premier and continued to remind the leaders that there are a lot of problems in their hands and there was need to begin to find lasting solutions to the challenges bedeviling the northern region, rather than looking up, apparently, at the Sardauna.
Undoubtedly, however, only within the lives and time of the later Premier – too many to mention – that mass oriented investments were created. Among them are the ABU, Kadduna Polytechnic, New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN), Bank of the North (BON), Kaduna Textiles Limited (KTL) and the almighty New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) Group, among others.
The NNDC is umbrella to several other investments as subsidiaries. They include Arewa Hotels, Hamdala Hotel – most of which have their headquarters located in Kaduna and Kano states, respectively.
Incidentally, as envisaged by the current Sultan of Sokoto in his speech at the 50th anniversary celebration, these legacies of the most cerebrated former premier of the defunct northern region, Sir Ahmad Bello, are in comatose. While some are dead and buried, others are in the pipeline crawling. The worse hits are BON, KTL and NNN. Hamdala Hotel and others have taken the cue. The hotel, located on Muhammadu Buhari Way in the Central Area of Kaduna city, is already down with over 12 months of its staff salaries in arrears.
Conscience Triumph reliably gathered that, a recent encounter with management of the hotel, had a statement, which was also reported in some national dailies, revealed in parts that, “Hamdala Hotel, a subsidiary of Northern Nigerian Development Company (NNDC) is currently in staff salary arrears of 12 months…”
But, Haj. Nana Abdulsalam, the General Manager of the hotel, who could not decline the allegation when contacted in her office, said that the staff and their union leaders are contented and understand with the company management situation.
The GM, in a sharp body demonstration, proudly said, “Yes, but our staffs are contented, they are not complaining; you can see one of the staff union leaders going out with us for marketing – to tell you that they are contented.” She, however, noted that the age-long Boko Haram insurgence in the northern Nigeria greatly impacted negatively on the hotel and tourism business, adding that staffs also understand the situation.
A staff, who pleaded anonymity, however, told our reporter that the hotel has had good patronage, stressing that their predicament is that the company has refused to pay salaries, which has badly affected their families in areas of school fees and other domestic challenges.
Hand ala Hotel is a subsidiary of NNDC, which happens to be the only major surviving source of revenue generating legacy of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto.
All efforts to get the union leaders proved abortive due to inability to identify themselves, as the NNDC public relations officer could not be reached despite consistent efforts made.
The Hotel is a wholly owned as a subsidiary of the NNDC Group. “The hotel was established in early1960’s by the then Sardauna of Sokoto, late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the former Northern Region of Nigeria.”
The hotel is located on Muhammadu Buhari Way in the Central Area of Kaduna City, about 45 minutes’ drive from the Kaduna International Airport and 5 minutes’ drive from the city centre. It is situated on a large expanse of land and has a wide range of facilities, including an Olympic size swimming pool, 2Nos. 1000KVA Standby Power Generating Sets, a standard Lawn Tennis Court, an Exquisite Garden Bar, a Cocktail Bar, a Restaurant, a Shopping Arcade, Air travel Booking Offices, a Spacious Car parking Area, a 500-600 capacity Conference Hall having adjoining Committee Rooms with a capacity to accommodate 10-15 persons.
The hotel is housed on a 12-storey building with a total 200 bedrooms comprising of:-
2Nos. Presidential Suites
4Nos. Executive Suites
10Nos. VIP Suites
13Nos. Special Suites
6Nos. Studio Suites
4Nos. Special Chalets, and
161 Nos. Luxury Double Rooms and more.
Accordingly, Bank of the North Headquarters in Kano, Nigeria, is the tallest building in Northern Nigeria, built around James Emejo and Hammed Shittu. Over 2,000 pensioners of the defunct Bank of the North that was acquired by Unity Bank Plc during the 2005 consolidation exercise staged a peaceful protest in Ilorin and Abuja over alleged non-settlement of their entitlements by the bank.
In Ilorin, the protest, which commenced as early as 8am, saw the picketing of the Ilorin branch of the Unity Bank, located along the Challenge area of the state. The protesters alleged that, since 2006, they had not been paid their entitlements as agreed upon before the bank was bought over by Unity Bank.
However, copies of the alleged agreements obtained showed that representatives of the unions had reached an agreement with the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) before the merger exercise, and they had accepted 50 per cent as full and final settlement for all their entitlements.
Indeed, the case of NNN, which closed shop for over 2 decades due to lack of payment of salaries of staff, is a national calamity. Recently, the company resumed with online publication but could not pay staffs after years of restlessness. Instead, it has resulted to sacking staffs without any serious reason(s) mentioned in the termination letters.
For KTL, despite the purported disbursement of N60 billion by the Bank of Industry out of the N100 billion earmarked to inject life into the collapsed textile industry, many factories, especially in Kaduna, remain closed, while their former workers continue to die due to unpaid entitlements.
A recent report by the Coalition of Unpaid Textiles Workers, Kaduna State chapter, indicates that, “over 2,700 ex-workers of the shutdown textiles companies and family members have so far lost their lives. The report also shows that many living members of the coalition have also developed one sickness or another, which are likely to lead to more deaths, if nothing is urgently done to salvage the situation.”
It is no more news that since most of Nigeria’s textile mills shutdown, causing many people to lose their means of livelihood, the attendant negative effects have continued to multiply, while lives are frequently being lost. These and many more may follow the part of death if nothing is urgently done to salvage the remaining ones.