One of the oldest staff of Hot Fm Owerri, Michael Onumonu aka Wild Card Stifler has finally left the station amidst the sack, resignation and fraud saga that is rocking it.
Stifler who yesterday announced that he left the station, took to social media to post ‘#FREEAGENT’ while he also kicked off his own entertainment line Wild-Mike Entertainment.
With that, he joins a list departures with majority suspended in a mix up of nonpayment of salaries, alleged fraud and hijacking of the station’s official Twitter handle.
A letter shared on social media showed that in what many thought that some staff of the station were suspened on May 29, 2020 when a the social media drama which led to the hijacking of Hot FM Owerri’s Twitter handle started, the staff have been suspended since May 4, 2020.
The letter shared cited the hardship caused by Covid-19 as the reason for their suspension, while another press release signed by Mr. Jacob Okonkwo on May 30, 2020 said that some staff were suspended because of their involvement in an ongoing investigation in company.
“It has come to our attention that some staff of the company who are currently under investigation for financial irregularities and have been placed on suspension pending the completion of the exercise, have taken the very unusual measure of embarking on a social media blackmail of the company”
“Within minutes of receiving their notification, they ran to bloggers on social media to help them orchestrate falsehoods. Ordinarily, the sensible thing for an employee to do in such circumstance is to wait and defend his or her activities”
Earlier on May 29, 2020, the hijacked account posted tweets accusing staff of Hot Fm Owerri by name Ngozi of having multiple affairs with both the MD, Consultant and other staff adding that she was the one who ordered their suspension.
“This is the lady that’s has controlling the MD @nduscott433 and telling him what to do Alongside the Local consultant. she is responsible for the short changing the station and not the arrested staff. Pay tem and drop the case against them they have families”, the handle tweeted, with all the tweets now deleted.
The tweet also confirmed an earlier report by a blogger that Stanley Akalonu aka E-Sure who is the Adverts Officer of the station, was arrested and his car also impounded. he has so far been released with the terms still unknown.
While Hot FM management agreed to owing their staff up to 6 months of salary, they blamed the nonpayment on the harsh economic effect of the Covid-19 and financial malpractice of some of their staff at the Owerri branch.
“In this COVID time, most businesses have adjusted by downsizing. But we have chosen to focus first on blocking the drains on company revenues through fraudulent activities.”
“The issue of salaries is a direct fall out of the sharp practices by some of the Owerri staff which we are looking into so that everyone will get what is due to them” the release signed by Mr. Jacob Okonkwo reads.
Some of the affected staff, expressed their anger on the fact that money realized by the Owerri branch is being sent to Lagos, while they are left to wallow in hunger, while one of the deleted tweets cited that staff of the Abuja branch are owed more than 6 months of salary.
With Stanley Akalonu (Advert Officer), Jovita Keshi (Account’s officer), Frances Ogu (Head of Station), Caleb Okpara (Head Of Marketing), Princesser and Ice Candy making up the 6 suspended staff, the station has also recorded some high profile departures in recent times with the likes of Real Stuff, E-Berry and Wild Card Stifler. Solomon Onu (Solo Morinho), Celestine Ugwuanyi (Solid C) and Paul Chukwu are the senior presenters left at the moment.
After recovering the twitter handle, Hot FM Owerri quickly made a tweet blaming Princesser and Ice Candy for the hijack, in a move that has been widely condemned, since no investigation has been carried out on the matter by any security agency.
Hello all, this is Princessa and Ice Candy former HotFM staff; responsible for the now viral tweets from this account; we would like to use this medium to apologise for any and all embarrassment we’ve caused the firm. We acted from a place of emotion. (Thread) #TheMatters pic.twitter.com/rzpieDPtYZ— HotFM Owerri (@HotFM_Owerri) May 30, 2020
Princesser quickly took to Facebook to dissociate herself from the post, adding that her lawyer will be watching the matter closely.
Some of the posts initially made on May 29, 2020 have been taken down by the individuals who made them, while HOT FM Owerr in their release said; “We are tracking all the defamatory statements and postings and at the proper time, their makers will be held properly accountable”
While many have condemned the hijacking of the station’s Twitter account, they also called on t Hot FM Owerri to see that the salary arrears are cleared as soon as possible to enable the disengaged staff move on with their lives.
Some fans of the radio station have also called for a professional settlement of the rift as it has affected the pedigree of their darling station, which is the first privately owned radio station to be established in Imo State.