Former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, Engr. Jani Ibrahim has said the planned severance payment for Nigeria Airways staff is long overdue.
He stated this during a chat with Pilot Aviation at the Ilorin International Airport on Friday.
Jani said, “Yes we heard through the media of the planned settlement of former workers of the Airways but this is long overdue and we are fed up with speculations.”
Recall that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting recently stated that the Federal Government has approved a N45 billion severance package for workers of the liquidated Nigeria Airways.
Sirika said: ““The delay in the payment is due to the Easter break that stopped the Senate from approving the payment till after the holiday. Past governments decided to liquidate Nigeria Airways without tending to the issues of the entitlement of the workers and the workers have been struggling to get paid.
“This government, when it came on board decided to take it seriously. And I am happy to announce that Mr. President has approved N45 billion, which has been confirmed to be the entitlements of these workers and the Ministry of Finance has been instructed to pay.
“And the Ministry of Finance has written to me last week that they have received instructions to pay these workers and therefore they are going about setting up all the modalities to pay.
“It will not be paid through my ministry before somebody will say I have stolen it. It will be paid by Ministry of Finance through a process and that process will commence very soon.
“So, I’m very glad to say that this is also what this government has done. It took a long time for the workers of Nigeria Airways to be attended to and we thank them for their patience.
“Unfortunately, we lost many of them, many of whom I have known personally. So this will soon be dealt with.”
Sirika has said that there would be no going back on the concessioning of Nigeria airports starting with Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.
This he said was because government could no longer sustain the funding of the 22 airports across the country.
The minister observed that the Murtala Mohammed Airport for instance was originally built to handle 200,000 travellers per annum but today it is handling eight million passengers per annum.
On the protest embarked upon by aviation workers over the concessioning, he stated: “You will agree with me that this is not news, they have done so in the past.
“We are a democratic government and we recognise that it is their right to protests and what they are protesting is whether there will be job losses and labour issues.
“And we have been very consistent and we have been engaging them. This time, it will be very different.