- Elders’ forum distances selves from protest, says its suspicious
DESPITE alternating views between some ex-workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways and unions including the National Union of Pensioners(NUP) and Aviation Union Grand Alliance (AUGA) the scheduled protest still over severance benefits still held.
Some old garde under the aegis of WT Elders’ Forum called on members not to attend the protest stating that it may affect the process as it stated that AUGA is an illegal group and not known by the nations’ law.
However, despite the dissuading, protests still held at the Skypower Catering Services as hundreds of former workers of Nigeria Airways took to the streets to air their grievance on the delay of their over N78b severance benefits.
They expressed fear that over one year since the amount was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari they have not been settled and thus their anguish continue.
The ex workers who defied the rains coupled with their ill-health and pleaded with the President to compel the Ministries of Transportation and Finance to expedite action on the disbursement.
Many of them who protested with different inscriptions on their placards which read. “President Buhari, please prevail on the Ministry of Transportation to release the money to us”, “No national carrier takes off without our pension”, “In month of August, we lost 25 pensioners, “Honourable Minister, please help us, our members are dying daily”, lamented their plight 14 years after the carrier was liquidated.
The ex workers matched through the Nigeria Air Force base to the domestic wing of the Lagos airport, a distance of ten kilometres.
National Chairman, Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Nigeria Airways, Sam Nzene who spoke to newsmen said about 5909 pensioners are expected to benefit from the fund which was raised from N1.2trillion bond that he disclosed matured in June this year.
Nzene said,”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 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 5,909 workers and pensioners are to benefit.”
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 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.”
Meanwhile, in a previous publication warning ex-workers to steer clear of the protest, Captain Dele Ore appeal is that all ex staffers should not attend the so-called “Congress” which is designed to deceive participants to embark on a “demonstrations”, Participants will have themselves to blame for any intrigue.
His statement tagged, ‘The hard facts for Nigeria Airways (WT) Pensioners he alleged, ” NUP refused, neglected and failed to demonstrate the last nine (9) years on WT Pensioners’ behalf.
NUP cannot represent my interest because their sudden concern is suspicious.”
“WT Elders’ Forum cannot fold our hands and allow selfish interest mess all us up. Any demonstration targeted at embarrassing this government is unfair. We could not make any progress for our payment with successive government.”
“Announcement on Modus-Operand for payment does not need any meeting.Demonstration will put your health at risk. Demonstration will only result in the loss of support and sympathy from those who feel for our plight. I am opposed to embarrassing the government that has set in motion that only the right people get the right payment.”