In a recent announcement, the Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to fulfilling its obligation of settling the outstanding severance packages for former Nigeria Airways employees. The assurance was provided by Mr. Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, during a stakeholders forum in Lagos. He confirmed the government’s intention to clear the last tranche of payments owed to the ex-workers.
The payment initiative, initiated by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) in 2019, has allocated approximately N5 billion for this purpose, benefitting around 1,000 former Nigeria Airways employees. While specific financial details were not disclosed, Keyamo assured that the government is taking the matter seriously, and the ex-workers can expect to receive the remaining portion of their severance pay soon.
Nigeria Airways ceased operations in 2003 due to persistent challenges and fleet depletion. The final payments to ex-employees, both domestic and overseas, had been pending until 2018 when the Federal Government, under former President Muhammadu Buhari, approved N22.68 billion for retirement benefits, covering approximately 50 percent of the total N45.3 billion entitlements for the former employees.
Initially, the ex-workers had claimed N78 billion as their retirement entitlement. However, following a verification exercise conducted by PICA and other stakeholders, the amount was revised, aligning with the liquidated Nigerian Airways Ltd.’s service conditions. The agreed sum of N45 billion was then designated as the total retirement benefits for the affected staff. Due to financial constraints, the payments were disbursed in two phases, with the first batch receiving their payments in 2019.