Members of the Nigeria Airways branch of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners on Tuesday prevented the Acting Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, from gaining entry into her office during a peaceful protest to demand the non-payment of their 14 years’ pension arears.
The Minister was forced to alight from her official vehicle when they refused to vacate the gate, to appeal to the protesting senior citizens. During the protest, the pensioners displayed placards and took over the main gate of the ministry, obstructing human and vehicular movement, particularly the staff who were resuming for duty.
Addressing the protesters, Ahmed asked for time to enable her get appropriate briefing on the issue, and also requested a proper meeting with the leadership of the group so as to agree on a payment schedule that will be mutually convenient.
She stated that the 14-year arears of payment would have accumulated into a huge sum, and might not be easy to liquidate in one payment, hence a mutually agreed mode would be necessary. The protesters therefore presented a copy of their protest letter to the Minister and vacated the gate to allow her access into the premises.
They demanded the payment of their areas totalling N45.3 billion, which they said had been approved President Buhari since 2017. The protesters also asked the Minister to maintain open and continuous contact with the leadership of the union for development and information regarding their pension.