The longtime struggles of pensioners of the defunct Nigeria Airways appears to be paying off as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N22.6 billion to settle their entitlements.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Mohammed Dikwa revealed the development on Wednesday night in Abuja.
According to him, the fund approved is purposely to settle the second tranche (50 per cent) of the entitlements of former Airways staff, pension benefits of retirees, as well as payments to families of deceased workers.
Recall that the first tranche had been released in October, 2018 and payment made to verified beneficiaries, who were screened across the country.
Dikwa revealed this to the workers of the company who were protesting their exclusion from the list of screened workers.
He told the protesters that their action was unnecessary given the fact that adequate arrangements had been made to screen them.
He also ventilated his annoyance at the protesters, especially on how they blocked the ministry’s gate when former Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who ensured they were paid their entitlements after a long period of neglect by past administrations was leaving the office.
Recall that the protesters were annoyed after which the Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit, PICA, had invited them to Abuja for verification and that they had not been attended to by Tuesday evening and were afraid that yesterday’s public holiday would make it impossible until Thursday.
Spokesman of the group, Comrade Sam Nzene told newsmen that the protesters were angry because some of them had spent two days in Abuja, without being addressed by officials of the ministry.
Nzene, who is the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, Nigeria Airways Branch, said that the consultant claimed that government owed him for the past exercise and therefore was not ready to provide further services until he was paid.
The verification exercise which started on Tuesday was still ongoing as of yesterday (Wednesday).