Pain, anguish for e-airways West Coast workers

 

  • FG to pay 50% balance

Nigeria Airways ex-workers from West Coast are still in pain over failure by the Federal Government to involve them in severance benefits handed to their Nigerian counterparts last year.

While Nigeria Airways ex-workers got 50 per cent of their severance package 17 years after the national airline was liquidated, ex-workers in West Coast comprising Gabon, Cameroon and Benin Republic are yet to be paid by the Federal Government.

Representative of the ex-workers, Bareng John Besong, who spoke to Woleshadarenews, expressed frustration at how they were neglected many years after the liquidation of the airline.

The affected workers are Ndoke Hannah Eposi from Cameroon, Bareng John Besong from Cameroon, and Maor Henriette Eno from Gabon while other bedridden and dead ex-workers had letters admin/powers of Attorney for two late staff for their money to be paid into Besong’s account.

Mrs. Ndoke Hannah had a letter from the Nigerian Consulate General in Douala (Cameroon) to represent two bedridden staff and act for him.

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Maor Henriette Eno had a power of attorney from two of her colleagues, who couldn’t open accounts in Nigeria for their money to be paid into her account.

Besong stated that all these documents were accepted by all the stakeholders concern in the verification exercise on Oct 19, 2018.

His words: “We were in the hotels from this date to December 21 2018 (70 nights) when the payments of those whose names were in our accounts were paid. Three of us the accounts owners were not paid. We had been in the struggle until August 2019 submitting our bank statements almost on monthly basis to prove that we have not been paid until PICA in early Oct accepted that we have not been paid and that we will immediately be paid to no avail.”

He explained that early Dec 2019, they had the information that payments would resume, adding that three of them, two from Cameroon and one from Gabon came to Nigeria.

The stories and the assurances to pay, he reiterated, had been on daily basis until March 2, 2020 when they were again asked to produce bank statements from October 1, 2018 to Feb 29, 2020 and letters of references from their banks to show that they have not been paid.

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According to him, “our accounts are in regular movements. This was immediately done and submitted to Mr. Lookman Animanshaun on March 3, 2020 who confirmed it. He has forwarded it to one Mr Aikhomu (the paying officer in the Office of Attorney General of the Federation and they have promised to get across to Mr Animanshaun.”

He lamented that from that date all efforts to get to any of them through messages/calls to know the position of their payments had proved abortive.

“If calls are received, they will be followed by extreme arrogance not considering the fact that we are foreigners and family heads who have abandoned their families back home for close to four months and two weeks”.

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“We are suffering without a means to feed or pay hotel bills. We are frustrated and like sheep without shepherd the reason why we want to write an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to expose the predicaments we have been subjected to over 17 years,” he added.

But Animashaun, who is the spokesman for the ex-workers, expressed confidence that the workers’ issues would be sorted out, adding that Remita had already instructed to pay the ex-workers.

He noted that the delay could have been as a result of inadequate information supplied by the ex-workers.

He promised that the union had gotten in touch with the affected workers with a view to resolving the matter.

He disclosed that the Federal Government was at the verge of paying the remaining 50 per cent of their N22 billion entitlements within a few months.

 

Wole Shadare