COVID-19: Ex-aviation staff beg Government to pay outstanding entitlements, pensions

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the world marks International Workers’ Day, and amid the socio-economic hardships and attendant dislocations that Coronavirus pandemic has visited on billions peoples globally, some retired staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), have appealed to the Federal Government to pay their outstanding pensions and entitlements.

The ex-workers of the rested national carrier made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

Report says the retirees related that since the Nigeria Airways wound up operations in 2004, only 50 percent of their five years’ pension was paid twice in 2008 and 2018 respectively.

The affected retirees urged the Federal Government to pay up the outstanding balance, being the remaining 50 percent for the initial five years settled in 2018 and the outstanding years to date.

Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, the Towulade of Akinale, in Ogun State, who is one of the retirees, appealed to the government to sympathise with the ex-staff of the defunct airways by paying their outstanding pensions and disengagement entitlements.

The monarch, who retired from the airline in 2000, said most of the affected persons were in their old age and needed money to meet some of their medical needs.

Oba Ogunleye stated that some retirees had already died due to abject poverty.

“We are appealing to the Federal Government to pay our outstanding entitlements.

“This will go a long way in enabling us to cater for ourselves and dependants,’’ he said.

Mr. Andrew Oddiri, also a former staff and Director of Administration at the time airline folded up in 2004, attested to the fact that since then, the ex-staff of the Airways were only paid twice in 2008 and 2018.

Oddiri said that despite the government’s approval to pay since May last year, there was assurance for the payment in October 2019, but no payment had been received.

“We want the Federal Government to pay our outstanding pensions now as this is our legitimate entitlement which we worked hard to earn.

“We will appreciate the payment at this critical period when COVID-19 is seriously ravaging the world.

“There had been lots of palliatives for people out there, but we have not enjoyed any.

“Most of my colleagues are presently on the sickbed but are not financially buoyant to pay up their medical bills.

“We need this money because we worked for it,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mr Ayuba Kyari, who would have retired in 2013, but forced to leave in 2004 when the airline packed up nine years earlier, appealed for prompt payment of his outstanding pension.

Kyari revealed that he has lots of outstanding bills to settle.

“We need this money seriously; my last son just gained an admission into the university.

“Majority of us, our health is at stake; so we need these entitlements to live meaningfully again.

“We heard that last year May, approval for the payment was granted by President Muhammadu Buhari, but up till now, we have not seen the money.

“We plead with every authority involved in the payment to consider our age and needs to make the payment promptly,’’ he said.[do_widget id=heateor_sss_sharing-2]