For the newly launched Nigeria Air to succeed, workers laid off by the moribund Nigerian Airways must be paid their full entitlements, according to a former Director of Flight Operations of the defunct Airways, Capt. Dele Ore.
Capt. Ore made this known shortly after the official launching of the new national carrier in London by Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and reiterated the need for the Federal Government to pay off workers of the airline for the new national carrier to succeed.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Capt. Ore said that plans by the Federal Government to re-fleet the national carrier by December 2018, was a good development that would only succeed provided the pensions of the former Nigeria Airways workers were cleared.
According to the aggrieved former Director, the government had approved the sum of N45bn being the estimated pensions of the former workers but almost one year after the approval by the Federal Executive Council, the ex-workers have still not been paid.
Ore, a former commandant of the Presidential Fleet, said he was pained that government had been dilly-dallying with the payment of their pension while many of his colleagues have died in the struggle and others left wallowing in abject poverty.
“Which way is it going? Unveiling name? That doesn’t mean anything, that is a paper airline. To me, it still doesn’t make any meaning until an inaugural flight goes with passengers then you can say it has arrived. Until that time, there’s no airline,” he said.
Capt. Ore also disclosed that over 800 of his colleagues have died while awaiting their pensions as they could not afford minor medications to treat their ailments.
“Some only needed N5000 to buy medication. It is terrible; some children have been out of school for five years, families have separated.
Just pay whatever is due or part of it. Let the people go and use that to repair whatever is left of their lives.”