Ex- Workers Battle NAHCo Over N1bn Terminal Benefits, Others

 

Ex-workers of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc have taken their battle to the court in a bid to get their over N1 billion severance benefits and termination of their appointment more than 15 years after the company was privatized.

The workers have engaged the services of human rights lawyer, Mr. Joe Nwokedi, to press home the demand for the payment of their terminal/ severance benefits.

The group, numbering over 750 persons led by Mr. Funso Ojibanire- National Coordinator and Mr. Sanmi Alademomi-General Secretary, respectively, were former workers/ employees in the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Ltd (NAHCo) until the company was privatized in 2005, which occasioned the disengagement of their services from the company and untimely retirement from their work.

 

NAHCo warehouse

Majority of the ex-workers have put in 15 to 20 years in the company prior to the privatization, stating that they are entitled to huge remuneration as the payment for their terminal benefits.

They stated that they suffered severe setback when Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) allegedly shortchanged and eventually underpaid them after 15 years of long wait in anticipation of the payment of their terminal benefits which is legally and lawfully due to them as ex-workers of NAHCo Ltd.

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The group equally alleged that there were several issues and questions to be cleared by PTAD with respect to their Terminal Benefits, such as information pertaining to the effective date of privatization of NAHCo Ltd, the method/ mode used in computing the amount paid to each ex-worker of NAHCo Ltd, a clarification on how the number of ex-workers number dropped from 986 persons to 783 after verification.

Others include an unverified letter to Bureau of Public Enterprises (B.P.E) and the purpose of such letter, illegal deductions from ex-workers’ terminal benefits funds amongst numerous others.

The Ex- workers also maintained that it was the date of their conversion as against date of employment that was submitted to PTAD by NAHCo Ltd for computation.

The group is however very convinced that there was foul play in the payment of their terminal benefits, as the process adopted by the PTAD in arriving at the amount paid to them is anything but transparent  and fair.

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Alademoni told journalists yesterday that in furtherance of the desire to fight what he described as ‘gross injustice and brazen’ attempt to impoverish the downtrodden citizens of Nigeria.

Pained by this, the group decided to engage and briefed the fiery Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Nwokedi to assist them in championing this cause by invoking the law and assessing the legal implications of what transpired between members of the group, NAHCo  Plc,  BPE, and PTAD.

Nwokedi after accepting the brief, vowed that justice must be done in this matter, as he is of the firm belief and conviction that his clients (Ex- workers of NAHCo Ltd) were not fairly and equitably treated in payment of their terminal benefits.

He therefore called on PTAD, BPE and other relevant bodies involved in this issue to ensure that the monies belonging to and accruing to his clients are duly paid to them without any further delay.

The fiery Lagos Lawyer threatened a serious showdown with all the relevant bodies/groups involved in what he regarded as a highly suspicious transaction, as he made it absolutely clear that heads will roll, inclusive of involvement of criminal prosecution if any individual/group involved in the alleged fraud tries to play smart in any way or manner, as he vowed that the arm of law will certainly catch up with such a person or group of persons.

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He therefore urged all the bodies/groups involved in this matter to do the needful, so as not to allow this matter degenerate to a dangerous and ugly dimension.

To ensure a reasonable time for an opportunity to be heard, Nwokedi has given a timeline of 14 days for any person or group of persons involved in this matter to do what is right, justifiable and fair, as he will not hesitate to deploy every necessary legal apparatus relevant to this issue, to ensure that justice prevails in this matter and which according to him may not be in the best interest of any party involved in this matter.

Wole Shadare