Ex-Airways workers’ verification rounding off – Coordinator

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The Coordinator of the Lagos Centre of the defunct Nigeria Airways Pensioners’ verification, said on Thursday that the verification was almost completed.

Mr John Waitono, who made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Ikeja, said the verification team was on course to completing the exercise within the next two days.

The verification commenced on Oct. 15, ahead of the disbursement of some N22.6 billion approved as part payment of the entitlements of the pensioners by the Federal Government.

The exercise is being conducted by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) in Lagos, Kano and Enugu, while those who have completed the verification have started receiving
their payments.

Waitono said: “currently we have done almost 90 per cent because we were expecting not less than 4,000 in Lagos but we had a spillover of people who left Enugu centre to come here.

“Enugu had a verification of just 320 people when we were expecting 1,000 to go there. So, that jacked up the number of people in Lagos but we have made good progress now.

“People are only coming in trickles unlike last week. We are looking at final mop up to come up by Saturday and if everything goes as planned, then we can conclude the exercise.”

According to him, the team has challenges at the beginning of the verification, due to panic and agitations by some of the pensioners who are eager to complete the exercise.

“As in the nature of verifications, the first two or three days are always problematic. People are agitated because they want to complete the process as quickly as possible.

“But with patience and understanding, everybody will go through the process and that is what you are seeing now.”

Waitono, who is a Deputy Director in PICA, disclosed further that arrangements were being made to capture pensioners, who were in the diaspora and could not participate in the ongoing exercise.

“In the current approval for the exercise, we have factored in two centres. One in New York and another in London. We are going to work with the embassies of the two areas.

“We know that there are many people there and we will factor them into the programme.

“We are looking at early 2019 to begin the exercise because we also have other assignments before that time,” he said.

The defunct national carrier was liquidated in 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration without paying the workers their severance packages as stipulated in extant labour laws.

The workers were paid a fraction of their entitlements by late former President Umaru Yar’Adua’s regime in 2008 before President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved a part payment of N22. 6 billion to the former workers.

The government has also promised to pay the other half of the money to the workers as soon as funds are available. (NAN)

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