The National Industrial Court holden at Jos has on Thursday, commenced hearing on the case between the Taraba state government and 18 staff of the defunct Taraba Publishing Company Ltd, publisher of Nigeria Sunrise newspaper.

The 18 staff of the company have sued the Taraba state government over the non payment of their salaries since 2014, amounting to N79,917,507.6k and discrimination on the basis of their states of origin. They also claimed that while the indigenes were absorbed into the civil service, they were abandoned by the government without any formal disengagement.

The case came up for mentioning before Justice P.A Bassi with the suit number: NICN/JOS/12/2021 with Hosea Yunana and 17 others as claimants and Executive Governor of Taraba state, Taraba state government, the Attorney General of Taraba state, Taraba state Commissioner for Information and the Taraba Publishing Company Ltd as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants respectively.

During the session, Counsel to the Claimants, A.Y Shagaiya Esq. told the judge that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants have been served but the 5th defendant couldn’t be served because it has no address and could not be located.

But a representative from the Taraba state Ministry of Justice told the judge that an out-of-court settlement was being contemplated.

The case was only mentioned but not entered for appearance. Justice Bassi therefore set 18 November, 2021 for hearing.

According to Counsel to the claimants, an out-of-court settlement would only be considered if there was any concrete arrangement by the Taraba state government.