Ex-workers of Nigeria Airways Limited on Tuesday expressed optimism that the N22.4 billion balance of their entitlements would be paid soon, following the signing of the 2019 Budget by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Lookman Animashaun, President of Ex-Nigeria Airways Workers, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that series of meetings had been held with the representatives of the Federal Government over the payment.
The workers were paid a fraction of their entitlements by late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s regime in 2008 before Buhari approved the payment of N22. 6 billion out of their N45 billion entitlements to them.
NAN reports that no fewer than 5,000 pensioners and ex-workers of the defunct national carrier were paid N22.6 billion as part payment of their severance benefits in November 2018 after screening by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA).
Animashaun said that government’s plan to pay the second tranche was on course, adding that the beneficiaries would not be disappointed.
“We have been having series of meetings to actualise that, and I believe any moment from now, that money will be paid.
“The beauty of it is that there will be no need for any verification because that has already been done. The money is captured in the budget which was signed by the President on Monday.
“So, the coast is clear for the money to be paid,” he said.
Animashaun hailed the reelection of Buhari and appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the government in its quest to tackle the challenges bedevilling the country.
According to him, the government has done a lot to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians when compared to its predecessors.
“This government paid all pensioners abandoned by previous governments, including Nigeria Airways pensioners who were suffering for almost 15 years.
“That is why I campaigned solidly for Buhari’s reelection because I believe that he has the interest of the people at heart,” he said.
Animashaun urged the President to focus on infrastructure development, particularly construction of roads and railway lines across the country, in his second term in office.
He also advised President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the power sector in order to reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria.
NAN reports that the former national carrier was liquidated in 2004 by the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration without paying the workers their severance packages as stipulated in extant labour laws. (NAN)