Former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways on Tuesday, February 6, staged a protest at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, over the delay of the payment of the N45bn pension approved last year by President Muhammadu Buhari. The ex-workers blocked the road linking the International wing with the domestic terminals of MMA causing traffic gridlock on the ever busy road, Daily Times reports. NAIJ.com gathered that the protesters singing solidarity song with different placards demand an explanation from the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, on why their pension approved since May last year has not been paid.
The protest kicked off from the Skypower Catering Service with hundreds of members participating. The protesters were earlier addressed by their leaders including the chairman of Nigeria Airways’ branch of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Comrade Sam Ezene and Engr. Lukman Animasahun. Nzene said: “The minister (of Finance, Kemi Adeosun) keeps insisting that National Assembly has to approve it, and we went to the National Assembly, but they said there is nothing on Nigeria Airways at the National Assembly. That is what we have been dragging since September.” Also addressing the protesters, Comrade Andrew Inalegu regretted that despite all the promises by the federal government to get their severance benefits before December last year, nothing has been done. He stated that over 800 ex-workers of the airline have died as a result of their inability to access medical facilities.
Inalegu declared that the proposed national carrier will not be realistic unless all issues concerning the ex-workers were resolved by the government. The protest leaders said the protest would move to Abuja after Wednesday, February 7, if nothing was heard from the government on the status of their payment. NAIJ.com previously reported that the minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that the federal government had approved the payment of N45billion severance package to former staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways. The national carrier was liquidated by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 2005, and the workers had been embarking on protests nationwide over their unpaid entitlements. Sirika told State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that money had been approved for the settlement of the entitlements. Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of local government employees stage massive protest in Lagos Read more.