Seven former employees of the defunct Nigeria Airways have died in the past one week as the former workers continue to await the release of the N45 billion approved by the federal government for the payment of their entitlements.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Airways Elders Forum, Godwin Jibodu, made the disclosure while speaking with aviation correspondents on Wednesday in Ikeja.
“We have lost seven colleagues within the last one week because they could not afford proper treatment for their ailments.
“This is very sad because the government has approved N45 billion since June for payment of our pensions and gratuities.”
Mr. Jibodu named the dead former airways workers as Capt. Asuquo, Capt. Akintaju, M. K. Amah, Bose Oladumiye, Onyebuchi Anunobi, Adebayo Awoyinka, T. Bellgam and Ebenezer Akinbode.
According to him, another former worker of the liquidated airline, Charles Ntanyi, has been missing since August this year after boarding a commercial bus at night in Ogba, near Lagos.
Mr. Jibodu lamented that the pensioners were wallowing in abject poverty after serving the nation meritoriously in the Nigeria Airways.
“We are appealing to Nigeria as a nation not to forget the contributions of Nigeria Airways to national development.
“Nigeria Airways was a partner to the government and till date has helped in building the capacity of workers in the aviation sector,” Mr. Jibodu said.
He said that since money for their pension and gratuity was approved, the pensioners had been making enquiries at the Federal Ministries of Finance and Aviation as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria to ascertain why the payment was yet to be made.
“There is so much silence and we don’t know who is delaying the payment and it is very unfortunate,” Mr. Jibodu lamented.
Nigeria Airways which commenced operations in August 1958 was liquidated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in May 2003.
The entitlements of the former workers were put at about N78 billion.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved N45 billion for the workers but the money is yet to be disbursed.
Nigeria Airways was a flagship company in the 1970s and early 1980s but poor management, government interference and other problems brought the airline to its knees.