The Ex-workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) have engaged the services of a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr Joe Nwokedi, to sue the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and NAHCO for allegedly colluding to deny them their N1.12bn severance benefits.

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The former workers under the aegis of the Ex-NAHCO Workers Forum revealed that they were taking legal action against the two companies to fulfil its demand for the full payment of the terminal benefits.

The Ex-workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc had earlier alleged that the payment of their one-off severance package by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate is fraught with irregularities.

In response, the Pension Directorate claimed that a total of 222 ex-workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc were paid N141.38m in four batches between June 19 and July 28.

A statement issued by the ex-workers on Thursday alleged that the management of NAHCO had connived with PTAD to manipulate the process to pay only a paltry sum from their N1.12bn severance benefits.

The General Secretary of the forum, Alademomi Sanmi, in the statement said the ex-workers were at a loss on how the number of beneficiaries dropped from 986 to 783 persons after the PTAD verification exercise.

He also dismissed as false a recent claim by NAHCO management that it had paid the disengaged workers the sum of N1.12bn in gratuities.

Sanmi said, “The N1.12bn NAHCO is claiming it has paid us is false. The information we have is that NAHCO is scheming to hijack this money from PTAD.

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“When a company that belongs to the Federal Government is privatised, people who worked at that company for a certain period are entitled to something. This is what PTAD is handling now.

“Even though NAHCO is claiming it paid us some amount of money, that money is different from the terminal benefit or severance package PTAD is expected to pay us now.”

The General Secretary wondered why NAHCO claimed it had paid terminal benefits on behalf of the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

He noted that the lawyer would seek the evidence of correspondences between the BPE and NAHCO in which the former authorised the latter to pay the severance package on behalf of the Federal Government.