Pensioners of the defunct Nigerian Airways blocked the convoy of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed on Tuesday, ensuring she and other heads of agencies under her Ministry could not to proceed to their various destination.
The Minister had been in a series of meetings with the Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Miss Patience Oniha, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Ita Enang.
Why they were barricaded: The Nigerian Airways Pensioners were protesting unfair treatment and handling of the pension process. Many of them traveled from their different locations to Abuja on the invitation of the Ministry, for data capturing and verification.
However, since their arrival on Sunday, May 26, 2019, most of them have had to sleep in open spaces within and around the finance ministry premises. With the verification process taking forever to begin two days behind schedule, protesters barricaded the entrance to the main gate in protest.
Why this matters: Failure to undergo data capturing could deny the protesters their pension as it did during the first phase of 50% payment last year. While the Chairman of the Nigerian Airways pensioners, Sam Nzene, did not outrightly blame the Federal Government for the failure to capture the data of some pensioners last year, he did state that the process does not have to be frustrating.
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“My people have been here in the last three days sleeping outside and nobody is talking to them.
“No arrangement whatsoever is on the ground for the data capturing. The consultant in charge of verification, simply identified as Jibril, said he had not been paid. In fact, he said he needed logistics, and papers to work which we agreed to pay some money but he left and didn’t come back.”
What this means: The verification process is now two days behind schedule, which means that the Ministry of Finance never prepared for the data capturing. The Ministry is not equipped for the process and this is not a good image for the Government.