Nigeria Air: Uncertainty over N45b entitlements of ex-Nigeria Airways’ staff

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Nigeria Air: Uncertainty over N45b entitlements of ex-Nigeria Airways’ staff – With the takeoff date of the new national carrier few months away, indications are that the staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways who are yet to receive their full entitlements may not be able to do so.

It would be recalled that the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) had vowed to resist the takeoff of Nigeria Air, unless outstanding entitlements, totaling N45 billion were paid to workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways, which closed down 14 years ago.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had dissociated the new national carrier away from the defunct Nigeria Airways, saying that there was no link between the two.

Also speaking in an interview with our correspondent at the weekend, James Odaudu, Chief Press Secretary to minister, said “Nigerian Air is not an offshoot of the defunct Nigerian Airways. Nigeria Air is a separate entity from the new national carrier.”

Raising some posers, he queried, “At what point have the ex-workers complained? I’m not sure if there is any complain now concerning the salaries of those workers. Because if there is anybody that has been concerned about their acceptable, it should be the minister and they are all understand.”

Speaking at a news conference in Lagos recently, the General-Secretary of NUATE, Mr Olayinka Abioye said the union had set a July 31 deadline for government to pay the entitlements or face the consequences.

He said that leaders of the union had met severally with the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, to deliberate on the plight of the former workers, “who served the country meritoriously before the airline was liquidated in September, 2004.’’

Abioye argued that inasmuch as it was commendable for the government to float a new national carrier, the government should settle its obligation to people who previously worked for their fatherland. The NUATE chief said that over 2,000 of the former airways workers had since died in the course of waiting for the payment of their entitlements.

Checks by The Nation revealed that a stakeholders’ meeting was held with the Senate Committee on Aviation, with the chairman, Senator Adamu Aliero giving assurance that the issue would be resolved amicably.

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