The Federal Government has approved the release of N22.68 billion to workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways and N20 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The sum approved for the ex-workers by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, is a part-payment of the N45 billion the Federal Executive Council (FEC) okayed over a year ago.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, in a statement, said the move came after an initial submission of N78 billion by the former workers as retirement benefits.
She said: “As you might be aware, the former workers of Nigeria Airways Limited (in liquidation) were not paid their retirement benefits for the past 15 years. Many of them have been through untold hardship. This unfortunate situation cannot be allowed under a responsible administration.”
Ahmed said that she had constituted a committee to be headed by the Secretary of PICA, Mohammed Dikwa, to ensure due implementation of the presidential directive in line with extant financial rules.
According to her, the committee is expected to physically verify claims of pensioners and relevant next-of-kin before the release of funds to approved beneficiaries. Other modalities will be worked out by the committee to ensure speedy payment, transparency and integrity of the process.
She said the money for the universities would be released immediately according to the established criteria used by the National Universities Commission.
Ahmed said the Federal Government would monitor the progress of the implementation of the universities’ revitalisation with a view to resolving emerging issues and keeping its promises to relevant stakeholders.