Former employees of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its subsidiary, the Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (M-tel), have taken to the streets of Abuja to protest the non-payment of their severance package 17 years post-privatisation of NITEL.
NITEL, the state-owned telecommunications company, was privatised in 2006, leading to the disengagement of many employees.
The company and its mobile arm M-Tel were eventually sold through “guided liquidation” because of its huge liabilities.
In 2015, the government finalized a transaction that saw NITEL and M-tel’s assets sold to the National Commission (NATCOM). The deal was valued at $252.521 million.
But speaking during the protest, one of the ex-workers who didn’t provide his name said the Federal Government had previously approved and allocated funds for the unpaid severance packages. He questioned the delay in disbursing the funds.
The protesting workers expressed their frustration and disappointment over the situation and demanded an urgent response from the authorities and immediate disbursement of their long-overdue severance packages.
One of the protesters said, “We need this money. I’m from Nitel, M-tel staff, disengaged over the years and they don’t want to pay us.
“The money has been assigned and approved by the Federal Government. This is seventeen good years. Many have died without being paid. What are you keeping the money for?”