Former workers and pensioners of the liquidated Nigeria Airways Limited this morning staged a peaceful protest for the non payment of their severance benefits at the Lagos airport.
The protesting ex- workers carrying placards with different inscriptions, that read ‘ pay us now and avoid more deaths, our esteemed president please help us, honourable minister of transport, please help and so on also chanted solidarity songs calling on the federal government to expedite action on the payment.
Vehicular movement into the domestic wing of the Lagos airport was this morning brought to a halt as ex-workers of the Nigeria Airways Limited staged a peaceful protest over the non payment of their entitlements.
The protest match which kicked off from the Airforce base resulted in traffic gridlock from the airport to the Ikeja underbridge.
Chairman, Nigeria Union of pensioners, Nigeria Airways, Sam Nzene said they were being kept in the dark over the payment of their severance benefits which had been approved by the president.
“We are here to let the president know that the money he has approved and we are aware funds have been released and yet to get to us 3 months after, we understand the funds are ready because bonds was floated and the bond has since matured in June but up till now, what we are saying is that nobody has called us for negotiations on the next line of action by now we should be working with the unit that have been mandated to pay us, a unit has been mandated to pay us but up till now they are doing the paying in secret, they do not want us to know even the aviation ministry is not so much in the know of what they are doing, so we want the president to please call those concern to order,we are not seriously quarreling that that we have not been paid but that the union should be aware of what they are doing so that we can equally tell our members to remain calm that we will get our money but now nothing we are not hearing from anybody, nobody is talking to us, we have written letters, we have made efforts to see officers in the unit concern but none of them want to talk to us .
Since the approval came, nobody has told us what has been approved but as long as we are concerned our money is N78 billion and we have 5,909 workers and pensioners to benefit”.
He explained that in July, the Federal Government approved N2.7 trillion for payments which comprised N740 billion meant to pay pensioners, including former employees of the defunct Nigerian Airways, as well as promotional salary arrears.
Mr. Nzene said up till now nothing had been heard from the unit concerned in disbursing the money to all the beneficiaries.
According to him, all efforts made had proved abortive to get in touch the unit mandated to pay them.
“Well, we are unions , we know where we get our information from, the president approved this money before he went on medical vacation, we know how we get our information and even the minister said it, he he went to council about the bond issue about 2 trillion or something like that , he even mentioned Nigeria airways specifically that they will benefit from that money, so since then we also have monitored the bond and we know the bond since have matured but up till now nobody has told us anything, all efforts we have been to know what is going on has proved abortive, it is like a secret matter”.