The media group Arise has ceased broadcasting on Thursday, according to media sources reporting on the issue.
Arise is carried on Sky channel 519 and operates out of a studio in London. The company also has offices in New York, Lagos, and Johannesburg. The media group’s owner, Nduka Obaigbena, is currently mired in the Dasukigate scandal in Nigeria.
Mr. Obaigbena, who also is the publisher of the newspaper Thisday, publicly admitted to accepting N500 million from former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki in return for favorable coverage of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign in the 2015 Presidential elections.
The media mogul allegedly owes people, at least, £3 million, £1 million of which is owed to workers for back-pay. Mr. Obaigbena is also in debt to the news services Reuters and Associated Press for photos provided by the two organizations.
Arise was shut down last year after 62 workers began legal action for non-payment of wages.
Speaking to The Independent, Production Editor David Lee, who claims he is owed £20,000 in wages, expressed frustration with the current situation.
“It’s disgusting, now I’m faced with a tax bill that I can’t pay. Two staff in the New York office have lost their houses because they were unable to make their monthly mortgage repayments,” Mr. Lee stated.
Yet, Mr. Obaigbena has disputed some of the wage claims.
“We are in dispute…with some who made invalid claims which we discovered during a routine audit.
“The courts may have to determine this. Some saw Arise as a gravy train to take advantage of. They are wrong,” he told The Independent.
The media mogul has also expressed confidence that his company will ride out the recent financial troubles. In his conversation with The Independent he expressed a belief that Arise would be able to complete its “five-year launch plan”.
“As a new business still in investment stage the revenue generation stage takes time and stability.”
“We are in a marathon and not a sprint,” he argued.