By SundiataPOST, Abuja
Retired workers of the defunct Nigerian Airways Ltd. (NAL) on Tuesday appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to use his good offices to pay them N70 billion pension arrears.
The retirees made the appeal during a meeting at the secretariat of the Airport Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.
The pensioners’ leader, Mr Ibraheem Hussein, said that many of their colleagues had died, some hospitalised and others weak and frail because of their struggle for payment of their pensions.
He noted that since the liquidation of NAL on May 21, 2003, the Federal Government had only paid the retirees five years pension arrears out of 25 years pension arrears.
He urged the government to pay the retired workers the outstanding pension arrears. He said that the government owed the pensioners N70 billion as at January.
“We made several attempts in the past to seek audience with President Goodluck Jonathan; we wrote two correspondences through the aviation workers’ unions and the Trade Union Congress (TUC),” he said. According to him, there were 5,700 NAL pensioners and workers at the time of its liquidation, but regretted that many of them had died.
Another NAL retiree, Mr Andrew Inalegwu, said that the treatment being meted out to the pensioners was improper.
“NAL pensioners were not responsible for the airline’s liquidation,” he said.
He claimed that NAL employees who served in New York, Rome, London and other West African countries had been paid 25 years pension arrears.
“Why is it that those who worked in Nigeria were paid five years pension arrears?’’ he asked.