By Monday EBALU Benin city
Former workers of the defunct national carrier, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited ( NITEL) and Mobile Telecommunication Limited ( M Tel ) under the auspices of former telecoms employees of Nigeria have appealed to President Muhammandu Buhari to order the payment of their pension buy – out.
The association in a statement in Benin city by its President Mr. Gabriel Oluti lamented that they were only paid five years pension buy-out when the company was privatized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the 25 years pension buy-out as severance.
He stated that President Buhari recently approved N45billion severance package to be paid to workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways while leaving out that of former NITEL and M-TEL workers, insisting that NITEL was also liquidated like the Nigeria Airways after its privatization exercise failed.
He disclosed that former workers of the telecommunication companies whose entitlements and pension buy-out has been hanging with the Federal government were now languishing in abject poverty while many of them have died due to lack of proper health care.
They disclosed that about N90billion staff pension fund belonging to their members was lying idle in government account after the federal government’s liquidation of NITEL and M-tel staff pension scheme through the Bureau of Public Enterprises in 2006 and stressed that they were entitled to pension buy-out for 25 years as severance.
It would be recalled that the Association of former Telecoms Employees of Nigeria (ATEN) obtained a judgment at the liquidation Court which they entered as interested party as in the matter of Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 in the suit No FHC/ABJ/PET/16/2013 at the Federal High Court at Abuja as secured creditors who were qualified for pension buy-out for 25 years.
They alleged that the approval given to PTAD by the Minister of Finance to pay monthly pension was not acceptable as it completely violates the liquidation judgment of 25 years pension buy – out just as they insisted that the pension buy-out be removed from PTAD to the BPE as done in the case of Nigeria Airways noting that PTAD was the only statutorily establishment to pay monthly pension.
They contended that the delay in migrating from PTAD to BPE forced the ATEN to approach the ECOWAS Court of Justice for an order of mandamus against the Federal government and its concerned agencies