For pensioners and ex-workers of the defunct Nigerian Airways, the ongoing verification and payment of their benefits which this week enters a second week, rather than bring succour, have actually worsened their woes.
In fact, there were reports of two deaths between Tuesday and Thursday at the verification ground and their corpses were deposited at a public hospital in Ikeja. Apart from that, there were several cases of pensioners who slumped and fainted last week.
Since Monday October 22, the situation rather than lessened, has indeed worsened as the crowd trouping to the verification ground has been increasing by the day. However, the federal government while extending the verification exercise that would have ended on Monday assured that the exercise would not end until every pensioner is verified.
Over one week that the exercise, commenced, the Lagos venue is yet to experience seamless exercise as many still spent hours under the scorching sun waiting to complete the process. Those battling with health challenges were seen struggling to withstand the stress brought by the hitches accompanying the exercise.
Among the challenges that have continued to confront the pensioners, is shortage of forms for bio-data and other necessary information. On Thursday, two pensioners while waiting for the form under the scorching sun, slumped and were revived by their colleagues to avoid losing them, as it was the case of two that had died earlier.
It was learned that in order not to lose another member, the pensioners quickly provided first aid treatment to them. Secretary, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Nigerian Airways, chapter, Segun Adeleke, decried the hardship members had been going through which led to some of them slumping, expressing happiness that there were no causality recorded.
According to him, ‘‘pensioners, that slumped, have been treated and back on their feet to continue the processing of their entitlements. Giving insight into the incident, one of the pensioners, Emmanuel Owolabi, informed that the victim arrived the centre at about 5am and had been battling to get the bio-data form under the sun for hours to no avail.
‘‘It was stress that was responsible for the emergency case recorded.’’ While withholding the name, Owolabi lamented that five days after commencement of the exercise, those slated for first day of the exercise were yet to complete their verification.