Former workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company have threatened to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission over the non-payment of their pension after 15 years of disengagement by the company.
This was revealed by rights lawyer and counsel to the ex-workers, Mr Joe Nwokedi, who gave a two-week ultimatum for the payment of the pension.
Nwokedi also gave the same ultimatum to the Bureau of Public Enterprises to address the continued delay in payment of pension and other rights due to the sacked workers including the N1.3bn severance package.
Nwokedi stated that BPE was yet to respond to a letter written to it on October 7, 2020 seeking explanation on the N1.3bn severance package released for pension of ex-NAHCO workers.
He said, “They could not answer the question as to the where-about of N1.3bn. It was on record that it was mapped out for the severance package of our clients.
"That now led us to BPE because they mentioned BPE and in the course of our deliberations with them, they availed us with a document from BPE directing them as to when NAHCO was privatised."
Nwokedi claimed that the silence of the BPE on the matter showed their involvement in the non-payment of the pension after 15 years to the ex-workers.
He said the workers will be writing to the minister in charge of the department and the presidency to seek intervention in the payment of the pensions.
"We will also proceed to court since they find it difficult on their own to explain to us, they can explain to the court.
"We have done what we ought to do like right citizens of Nigeria by writing a letter to them, visiting their office, making a request for them to summon a meeting, giving an opportunity for us to be heard.
"We want to hear from them and not work under presumption. We are very convinced that this money is somewhere and we cannot allow the money belonging to their clients to be diverted to somewhere. That is completely illegal and must be resisted.
"We have enough documents to submit petitions and go to court, and we are sure the court will consider us," the lawyer added.
The lawyer stressed that they will begin to petition EFCC and ICPC if after two weeks the BPE does not call for a meeting between the representatives of the ex-workers and the lawyer.
SaharaReporters had published how some ex-staff of the aviation company died from curable sickness due to the inability to seek medical treatment.
They revealed that they have suffered financial loss, social degeneration, psychological and physical trauma due to non-payment of their pension.
One of the affected former workers of NAHCO explained that while the ex-staff had done verification, PTAD and BPE are employing delay tactics to frustrate the pensioners from receiving their funds.
“NAHCO was privatised in 2005 and the BPE money that was supposed to be given to us, they did not begin to give us until towards the end of 2019.
“To pay the money, we went for verification but they are now paying us peanuts. Some of us were given N29,000 as final pay-off. Some of us that spent 28 years in NAHCO received lesser pay,” he said.
The affected workers numbered over 700 as they maintained that the N1.3bn pending at the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate and BPE remained their severance benefits and not for NAHCO.