By Ikhili Monday EBALU,, Benin City.
Former workers of Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and its mobile arm, the mobile telecommunication Limited (Mtel) have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) and the office of the Accountant General to urgently effect the payment of the balance 20 years pension buy-out and other entitlement owed its former workers.
The former workers under the auspices of Association of Former Telecoms Employees of Nigeria (ATEN) said that the payment of severance entitlements to staff, was supposed to be regulated and governed by the extant rules and regulations of the International Labour Organization, but rather the BPE relied on the executive fiat of the Obasanjo administration to pay only 5 years pension buy-out instead of the 25 years buy-out award to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
They said the delay in payment as awarded by the liquidation court has forced ATEN to approach the ECOWAS court of Justice in suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/32/17 for an order of mandamus against the federal government and its concerned agencies.
According to the former workers,” When the liquidation court was constituted and. Inaugurated in 2013, the Incorporated Trustees of Association of Former Telecoms Employees of Nigeria (ATEN) entered the court through the legal representation and secured judgment as Secured/Preferential creditors.
“The ATEN president, Pastor Oluti Gabriel stated that the resultant claim for the affected 17639 former workers totalling N290 Billion(Balance 20 years pension buy-out, 10% entitlement of the sales of non-core assets, insurance) having long been submitted/ re-submitted to government since 2014 for payments.”
Pastor Oluti further disclosed that the parole arrangements by the Honourable Minister of finance through PTAD an arrangement that is erroneously ventilated by the acclaimed existence of pensioners prior to liquidation, to place the former workers of Nitel/Mtel on life pension is totally unacceptable to ATEN as it completely negates and violates the liquidation court judgement which awarded 25 years pension buy-out, as severance payments to all former workers both pensioners or disengaged.