Legal Drama

AML Exclusive: Ex-IROKO Employee Opens Up About Alleged Maltreatment of Staff by Co-Founders Jason Njoku & Bastian Gotter

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We have seen and heard what IROKO has to say about the firing of its employees and also its CEO Michael Ugwu. Now an ex-employee opens up about the maltreatment allegedly present in the IROKO camp.

Further, following up with the press statement published by Jason Njoku/IROKO, below is an additional statement shared with me.

I will revisit the legal issues (mostly employment/labour law issues) present in a future post; and a basic PR 101 for entrepreneurs, especially startups, post  as soon as is possible.

Bolded and underlined statements are my additions without changing any text, to make sure I highlight the legal issues I want you all to pay attention to.

Cheers,
Uduak

” . .  .  We are simply tired.
 
This evening we have also found out that Jason Njoku apparently released some information stating that he fired our former head of unit michael ugwu in an Ventures Africa blog. This is Jason again chasing sensational headlines without addressing the real issues.
He states in the release that he paid us a generous package of severance when i have not received one kobo to date. Honestly speaking our former head of unit has been looking after us during this trying time so we are all pretty upset his name is being tarnished by Jason Njoku.”

_______________________

Good day Uduak,

 I am a former staff of iROKO Partners working on iROKING.com. I am sure you may receive many aggrieved staff emails but I can assure that I am simply attempting to highlight a serious breach of the employee employer code.
 
I and 13 other members of staff were sacked with no reason given, no offense stated and till date no severance paid. 
 
In the last year around 40 staff have either left iroko partners by resignation or summarily dismissed for no specific reason.
 
As a company looked at with respect in the tech/media space it is the responsibility of firms like iROKO to ensure responsible structures are created for those that are employed by the company.
 
The high staff turnover witnessed in recent times is due to the undemocratic management style of Jason Njoku and Bastian Gotter. On the day we were sacked we were summoned into Jasons office and told to go down and pack our things that he was scrapping iroking and we were not needed anymore. This was almost 2 weeks ago and till date we have not received any severance or explanation. Jason will not speak to us but is busy typing on his blog how he will recommend us for other positions. He has informed security to not allow us back in the building and has ignored our need for closure on this.
 
Many of us have been living in fear regarding job security which Jason and Bastian were well aware of. Often times they would line us up l and tell us that we need them and they do not need us because they are millionaires That they are lords of the land who do not go to the bank but the bank comes to them. Many including our former CFO resigned based on these undemocratic tendencies displayed by the two.
 
On the day we were fired we were called and told that Jason wanted us to beg for our jobs back but that we would face a demotion. 2 staff members who are still currently students did call and beg and were welcomed back but with the demotion. This is not the first time staff have been told to beg and many of us would rather stay at home and go hungry than beg Jason or Bastian.
 
Both have lived abroad unlike many of us and should know better than to behave in the manner they do.
 
Foreign investors are investing into a business who may have a business model they like but how they treat their staff and clients is another thing. Many artists and record labels only deal with iROKO based on the Head of iROKINGs good relationships in the industry. He has now left the company. Many Nollywood producers are tired of the high handedness of these two characters.
 
The company is in the process of setting up a nollywood studio in which they hope to employ formerly independent movie producers, tying them into long term unfair contracts based on the lure of money.
 
As at now iROKO are threatening artists to sign documents to enforce that they can only work with them.
 
There are many more things that have happened over the 3 years I have been in the companies employ.
Many former staff members are willing to come forward and open up on their treatment whilst with iroko partners.
 
I wish Jason and Bastian the best but I would also like to know why I was fired like I was. They also need to be held to account for their actions but there is no board we are aware of to contact and no grievance/complaint policy inhouse. 
 
 .  .   .Thanks for taking the time to listen”

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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1 Comment

  1. Wale says:

    Guys,

    Some key insight to the iROKO saga;

    No professional with good experience worked in iROKO for 13months.

    Currently only one business development person works in Africa and she is German/Nigeria. South African office is a dead business and will only take few months to close down.

    Few months ago, it was discovered that jason and Bash got an average of $2m as their wages for 2years. Now tell me what is left if the last venture capital gave them $2m.

    They are currently hoping to get another $20m but this fund is diverted into Spark. iROKOtv is killing the movie industry and producers and stakeholders must be smart.

    Please ask the management of iROKO why the cordial relationship between them and Emem Nsong has gone cold. Even Desmond Eliot and other key players have backed out of the iroko relationship.

    Why do every staff who leaves iroko receive threats?

    How would you feel if your boss tells you *F..k off* every time there is a general meeting.

    Recently Jason deducted N500 from all staff salary because they refused to buy his son a gift when mary gave birth.

    Guys. Find out all the above facts and you will be amazed.

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