A cross section of Nigerian Airways pensioners protesting unpaid benefits
Some retired staff of the defunct Nigerian Airways Limited (NAL), have appealed to the Federal Government to pay their outstanding pension entitlement in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former workers made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The retirees said that since the airline folded up in 2004, only 50 per cent of their five years’ pension was paid twice in 2008 and 2018.
They, therefore, urged the federal government to pay up the outstanding balance, being the remaining 50 per cent for the initial five years that was paid in 2018 and the remaining years to date.
One of the retirees, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, the Towulade of Akinale in Ogun, appealed to the government to sympathise with the ex-staff of the defunct airways by paying their outstanding pension 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.
Ogunleye added 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.
Also, Mr Andrew Oddiri, who was the director of administration as at when the 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.
He said that despite the government’s approval to pay since May last, there was assurance for the payment in October 2019 but that unfortunately, no payment had been received.
“We want the federal government to pay our outstanding pension 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 told NAN that he had lots of outstanding bills to settle.
“We need this money seriously; my last son just got 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.