Pay Our Arrears Or Forget ‘Nigeria Air’, Defunct Nigeria Airways Staff Threaten FG

The staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways who were laid off after the country’s erstwhile national carrier was shut down have threatened to truncate the Federal Government’s bid to establish a new carrier.

Recall that the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had on Wednesday unveiled a new logo and name for the country’s new national carrier “Nigeria Air” at the Farnborough International Air Show in the United Kingdom.

Mr Sirika had said he would negate acquisition of new aircraft for the national carrier with European Aeronautics Company in the Netherlands, Airbus, as well as with Boeing and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

But speaking under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the staff of the defunct national carrier said unless the government offsets their owed severance packages, the union would do everything in their capacity to stop the establishment of Nigeria Air.

NUATE said this in a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Olayinka Abioye.

Abioye said, “We are not concerned about this new national carrier even though it is our baby with supposed benefits to the country.

“We are much more concerned about the families of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, some of whom have died.

“We are much more concerned about those who are living and managing to live and we are calling on this minister and government to speed up action in whatever capacity they can to ensure that Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, make releases and pay our people. Enough is enough.

“The unions may truncate the process of the new national carrier; you can take that from me. There are so many fundamental issues begging for answers in some of these things.

“The national carrier that we are advocating for is not what they are planning now. We said private sector-driven national carrier, what is the problem with this government?

“The same government that said it didn’t have money to revamp our comatose airports is now spending $308 million as take-off grant for the airline.

“The same government wants to bring in six new aircraft from God-knows-where. Where then is the intervention of the private sector in all these?

“At what point is private sector going to be involved? These are issues that should be tackled. Then, how do you want to unveil a national carrier and take it overseas, leaving Nigeria behind. Those politicking are too much and we are not interested,” he said.

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