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N7bn pension fraud rocks NAMA



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 …as FAAN delays pensioners since 2012

RETIREES of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have accused the Agency of diverting their pension and gratuity funds worth N7 billion in the last three years, National Daily has gathered.
According to investigation, the agency has failed to remit the said N7 billion accrued pension funds to pension administrators since 2013. The retirees, through the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), cried out to the management of NAMA to consider their plight and release the funds as soon as possible.
The condition of service of NAMA made available revealed that the Agency operates a staff pension which qualifies all established staff to its pension scheme after reaching compulsory retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of service.
However, the retired workers of the Agency have cried out over its neglect and inability to release their pension funds three years after retirement leaving most of them in penury and abject poverty.
Confirming the situation, the General Secretary, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), AbioyeOlayinka, accused the NAMA management of not remitting the funds deducted from the workers of the agency to the various pension managers.
Abioye threatened that the union may be forced to picket the agency if nothing is done in earnest to release the benefits of the workers. He said even the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is culpable of the same offence as it has been accused of owing its retirees their retirement benefits from 2012.
His words, “Lack of payment of benefits to retiring staff that we have in FAAN AND NAMA has been a source of concern to labour leaders. It is bad in NAMA that those who retired in 2012 are being owed their severance benefits and we have decided to take action against NAMA and FAAN. Promotion cannot be effected in some of these places, salaries are also not paid as at when due,” he said.
However, reacting to the allegation of nonpayment of retired workers’ benefits, the General Manager, Corporate Communication, FAAN, YakubuDati, said the agency and the union leaders had reached amicable resolutions on how the pension benefits owed retired workers would be paid.
Dati supported his claim by presenting a copy of a document signed by the leaders of NUATE and ATSSAN including the Director, Human Resources and the General Manager Human Resources of FAAN to that effect. Dati said the management and the unions agreed to work together on the modalities for payment of the accrued pension benefits.
“Management will pay those gratuities that have not been paid. Also the management and the union have agreed to work together on the modalities for payment of the accrued pension benefits”, Dati said.
As for NAMA, however, the Deputy Director, Public Relations of NAMA, Mrs. OlajumokeAdetona, when contacted, denied knowledge of the incident but promised to provide a vivid account after liaising with relevant departments in the agency. but as at the time of this report, she was yet to contact our correspondent on the fraud allegation levelled against NAMA by NUATE.