Ex-Nigeria Airways Workers Plan Massive Protest in Abuja

By Dipo Olowookere

Former employees of the defunct Nigeria Airways are planning to hold a protest in Abuja to demand payment of their gratuity.

The demonstration, Business Post gathered, is likely to hold in February and from all indications, it would be a sit-out.

On September 20, 2017, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the payment of N45 billion severance package to the former aviation employees.

However, since the announcement, former members of staff of Nigeria Airways were yet to be called for verification ahead of the payment.

The N45 billion is payment of their gratuity for six year instead of the N78 billion for 10 years they fought for.

Several meetings were held by leaders of the former employees to know why they were yet to be paid even when they earlier got assurances that the payment would be made before Christmas of 2017.

Last month, Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, who is a former pilot, assured the former aviation workers that they would be paid soon.

He attributed the delay in the payment to the National Assembly, which is he said was yet to approve the payment.

“I have done my bit on WT. The Minister Finance has sent it to NASS. It is due process sir. 16 years they did nothing. I think we’ve tried,” Mr Sirika had posted on his Twitter page in December 2017.

But our correspondent gathered that as a result of the further delay in the payment of the money by the government, there would be a massive protest in Abuja to press home their demand.

Already, former workers of the national carrier across the country have been told to get ready for what they called ‘mother of demonstrations.’

Ahead of this planned protest slated for the Fountains Square in Abuja, members of the organizing committee will meet on Saturday, January 27, 2018, to map out strategy on how to go about the exercise as well as the date.

Feelers reaching us indicate that the demonstration will continue until government commences payment of the gratuity to the workers and pensioners.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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