Since the federal government announced the release of N45 billion severance package for the employees of the defunct Nigeria Airways, they retirees say they have not been able to locate where the money is domiciled.
The minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had announced on September 21, 2017 that the federal government had approved N45 billion to offset the entitlement of the defunct airline’s workers.
He said the minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had been instructed to put the machinery in place for paying the workers.
“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,” Sirika had said.
However, speaking in Lagos after a meeting of Nigeria Airways Elders Forum, the chairman of the Forum, Mr. Godwin Jibodu said no ministry or agency of government had been forthcoming with information about the money.
“We have tried to reach out to the ministry of aviation, ministry of finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but there is no response from them. And as we speak to you there is no response as to who is holding our money,” he said.
Jibodu said the delay in payment had resulted in the death of some retirees while some were suffering from various illnesses.
Jibodu who described the deceased as part of the “first eleven” of the rested airline gave their names as Capt. Asuquo, Capt. Akintaju, Capt. Ohioma, Capt. Akinyosade, Engr. KC Amah, and Mr. Onyebuchi Anunobi while those suffering from stroke are Engr. Bose Oladamiye, Mrs. Adedayo Awoyinka, Engr. I. Belgam and Mr. Ebenezer Akinbode.
“The first avionics engineer, Bose Oladunmiye is at the point of death. Capt.Akintoju, the first Nigerian that flew the VC10 aircraft from London to Lagos died three days ago. Capt. Charles Ntanyi one the pilots in the first-eleven of the former Nigeria Airways workers, who boarded a commercial bus…disappeared about two months ago. Up till this moment his whereabouts is unknown.
“This is sad and disheartening. These great men are dying in droves because they do not have money to take care of themselves. They would have been able to seek medical attention if they were paid their gratuity and pension that is presently been withheld by unknown agency of government after N45 billion was released by the federal government.
He urged the federal government and indeed Nigerians not to forget the contributions of the workers stressing that the former airline’s workers are still contributing to the development of the aviation industry.
“There is no airline in the country today where you don’t find ex-Nigeria Airways Limited workers. “As we mourn our colleagues who died, we are equally asking; who is holding our money that has been released by the Federal Government?”