Airways staff blame ministry of finance for delaying payment of N45b pension

*Some surviving staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways at a prayer meeting in Lagos

Former staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways have accused the ministry of finance of delaying the payment of their N45 billion severance benefit approved by the federal government.
Speaking at a meeting of the workers’ elders in Lagos, the former chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Mr. Steve Mahonwu blamed bureaucracy in the civil service for the delay in the payment of the employees’ entitlement.
Bureaucracy is the working term of the civil servants. The president has approved, is there any follow-up? We have lost up to 30 people since the approval, they have been dying in quantum, we wrote to the president, the vice president, the minister of state for aviation and the ministry of finance. When you write they reply you, it means communication is taking place but when you write and there is no response, it means they are incommunicado,” he said.
Another member of the group, Mr. Sheri Kyari said since the airline was liquidated in 2004, the former employees had had a bad experience with successive administrations except that of late president Musa Yar’Adua who paid them five years of their pension.
He said many of their colleagues had died and many afflicted with different types of ailments required a lot of money for treatment.
“We have had nasty experience with our governments over the years, except the years of late of president Yar’Adua who approved and paid us five years of our pension. Since then it has been a battle till this day to the extent that even when president Buhari campaigned, it was an issue. So when they came in, they have been able to give approval…. Since the approval about also eight weeks now, the payment has not been made. So we are beginning to feel that people are beginning to do politics with our fate,” he said.
He also said the pensioners had been unable to cater for their families, pay house rent and take care of their health.
“We are tired. How can the president of a country approve some money but people are holding on to it. It is unheard off.
“Sincerely, I am not happy, I cannot pay my house rent, I cannot feed my children, I am weak; I am sick and tired. Please, Nigerians help us.
“That is why we are begging the president to come to our aid so that we can get our money. Our people are dying every day; we are not happy,” he added.
It would be recalled that the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had announced on September 20, 2017 that the federal government had instructed the ministry of finance to disburse N45 billion as entitlement to the workers of the rested airline.
Consequently, Sirika said the ministry of finance had begun to put modalities in place for payment..
However, he said: “You should know it won’t be paid through my ministry before somebody will say I take some of it. It will be paid by finance through a process, and that process will commence very soon.”



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