Severance benefit: Nigerian govt involves EFFC, ICPC on verification of ex-Airways workers

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Pensioners in Nigeria
Pensioners in Nigeria

Federal Government has enlisted operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in the ongoing biometric data capture verification of ex-workers and pensioners of the rested Nigeria Airways Limited.

Besides, the EFCC and ICPC, other security agencies were also enlisted for the exercise.

Speaking at the Skypower Catering Limited premises in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed said the participation of these anti-corruption agencies would ensure transparency, accountability for the exercise.

 The minister added that besides displaying the relevant documents, the EFCC and ICPC officials were obtaining thumb prints of the beneficiaries to ensure that people who are not qualified do not have access to the money.

Mrs Ahmed was represented by the Secretary of Presidential Initiative for Continuous Audit, PICA, an arm of the Ministry of Finance, Dr Mohammed Dikwa.

Mr Dikwa addressed the ex – Airways workers and pensioners allaying fears that hitches thus far experienced in the exercise were being looked into.

He said government was aware of the hitches and had approved extension of the verification by one week to ensure all beneficiaries are accommodated.

But, scores of pensioners and former workers have berated officials of PICA for the sloppiness of the exercise as there were not enough personnel to attend to beneficiaries that are very sick and the elderly.

They in particular noted the paucity of personnel at the desk dedicated to the EFCC and ICPC, which they said has accelerated the delay of the exercise.

In a sift reaction, Mr Dikwa said “We were here to confirm that the verification is on course, and we have noted some hitches, which would be addressed with the extension of the verification for an additional week.

” The whole idea is to ensure that all beneficiaries are captured. We call for orderliness  and pledge that we will increase the personnel  to take care of beneficiaries whose names were omitted.

“We understand the consequences that have come with the delay in the payment of this severance benefits, especially those that have either died, lost their documents and others. We will create a special desk for them.”

 He said government was making plans to ensure that the on-going verification will be the last .

Mr Dikwa said: “This will be the last verification before all payments are closed. Government is paying fifty per cent now to settle the balance in the next few months. We are making plans to ensure those living outside the country are not omitted. So, there is no cause for alarm.“

 On the involvement of security agencies, Mr Dikwa said: “We have enlisted the services of EFCC , ICPC and other security agencies to ensure transparency and accountability of the exercise.

“The whole idea is to ensure that the money does not get into the wrong hands. We are going to deepen their involvement by ensuring that beneficiaries undergo bio-metric data capturing with thumb print.”