N22.6bn Entitlements: Nigeria Airways pensioners lament tedious verification procedure

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Nigeria_Airways

Some former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways have expressed dissatisfaction with the ongoing verification exercise ahead of payment of their severance packages.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the procedure was slow and tedious for most of them who were old and in various health conditions.

NAN reports that the exercise, which began on October 15, is being conducted by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) at the premises of Skypower Aviation Catering, a subsidiary of the former national carrier.

The pensioners are asked to proceed from the first stage of checking their names to the second stage which is to get a long form where they are asked to fill their bio-data and other information required of them.

The third stage is data capture where their entitlements are spelt out and computed for final payment.

The final payment printout form is signed by representatives of the union, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Federal Ministry of Finance as well as the beneficiary.

Five thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight of the former workers are expected to be verified before the exercise closes in October.

The committee will immediately begin the disbursement of the N22.6 billion approved for part payment of their entitlements.

NAN reports that the possibility of completing the assignment within the stipulated time is doubtful as some of the pensioners who started their verification on Monday were yet to complete the process by Wednesday.

One of the ex-workers, Felix Nnamdi, who returned from outside the country for the verification exercise, told NAN that he was disappointed with the way and manner it was being carried out.

“I was supposed to do my verification today and I have already booked my return flight for Thursday, but I was told that the exercise will now be on Thursday.

“This has disrupted my plans because I believe the process could have been smoother with better planning and logistics,” he said.

A son to one of the former workers, Francis Iwuchukwu, who also confirmed the shift in dates, said he was only informed upon arrival at the venue that his verification had been moved to another date.

“I came here this morning and I was informed that it will now be for tomorrow, Thursday, October 18,” he said.

A former staffer of the airline, Sam Ekene, urged the committee to find a solution to the tedious process to ameliorate the plight of the pensioners.

“It is unfortunate the way the exercise is being conducted because most of the people are very senior citizens. You can see that some are even on wheelchairs being pushed around by their children.

“I came here this morning at 5.30am and I was number 84 on the list so, it means some persons slept here which is quite sad.

“I think this process should be faster so that we can conclude everything quickly.”

Lookman Animashaun, a member of the verification team, said the procedures were put in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the funds.

He said the verification exercise was progressing very well as efforts were being made to address the logistics problems. (NAN)


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