Workers of the Anambra Printing and Publishing Corporation (ANPC), publishers of the National Light Newspapers have alleged that state government’s insistence on closing the media house was for Governor Chukwuma Soludo to convert the premises for family business.
They alleged that Soludo’s plan was to use the premises of the 30-year old establishment for amusement park business personal to his family.
Daily Vendor gathered that angry workers battling with disengagement threats stated this during a meeting with management of the organization where they were formally informed of the winding down of the corporation as stated by two official memos.
In a memo dated 21, July 2023 from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), addressed to the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, ANPC, Sir Chuka Nnabuife asked him to start the winding down of the corporation activities that would lead to the disengagement of its staff.
The memo addressed among other issues reasons for its closure as being moribund, economically unviable, and no longer fit for purpose.
A follow-up letter dated 21 July 2023, was issued late that afternoon from the Office of the Head of Service (HoS) to Sir Nnabuife. The memo informed of the corporation shutdown with effect from 1st September 2023.
The two memos which were read to the staff of the corporation in the meeting left staff in shock. They queried Soludo’s motivation for the closure of the corporation.
The workers spoke of Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State resuscitating the state-owned newspaper, Statesman.
They also noted other state-owned newspapers running; and wondered why Soludo ,who workers’ expectation was to make the newspapers more viable and nationally accepted, had taken such extreme and harsh decision.
They queried his supposedly SOLUTION mantra since he promised fixing anything broken during his electioneering as professor of economics.
“He should make the place more viable and not shutting it down. It was gathered that despite several pleas from some cabinet members that Soludo remained adamant on destroying the paper’s legacy, the pride of the state.
“Insiders informed that Gov. Soludo wants to use the corporation’s expansive premises for an amusement park, which they allegedly said was connected to his family but under the guise of the state government public-private initiative.
“The National Light is Nigeria’s longest-running thriving state-owned newspaper. It prides itself on never being hiatus for once, compared to other states’ newspapers, it has been publishing for more than 30 years,” the workers stated.