By Victor Ahiuma-Young
THERE appears to be no end in sight for ex-Nigeria Airways workers for the payment of their terminal benefits seven months after N45 billion was approved by the Federal Government to pay their severance benefits.
The aggrieved pensioners have reiterated their plea to the Minister of Finance to release the money to pay them for them to take care of their medical and other needs.
As at last month, it was gathered that no fewer than 900 pensioners of the defunct Nigeria Airways, have died while waiting for payment of their terminal benefits.
Chairman of Nigeria Airways’ branch of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP, Mr Sam Ezene, told Pension and You that the pensioners had been left in the cold as the Ministry of Finance had kept mute over the matter.
He said: “We are still waiting on the Minister of Finance to release the N45 billion approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Federal Executive Council, FEC, since September 2017. We have written several letters and embarked on protests including the one last month.
We are still waiting to hear from the Finance Minister because she is the one that can release the money. For now, we have been left in the cold as members continue to suffer untoward hardship.
Many of our colleagues, you are aware, have died, some are on sick bed, some have been left to die on the streets and some have no homes to retire to. It has been one problem after another. Many of us need medical attention, but there is no money. That is the situation we are in.”
It will be recalled that Mr. Ezene had disclosed that over 900 members had died while awaiting the payment of their severance benefits, lamenting that one other Airways pensioner died in the morning of February 6, before the commencement of the pensioners’ protest against unpaid N45 billion approved by the Federal Government to pay their severance benefits.
According to him: “Over 900 of our members have unfortunately died since the battle started.”