Retired seafarers protest non-payment of severance package



By Patrick Osadebamwen
Protesters numbering over 200 stormed the Ministry of Transport Abuja, Tuesday to register their grievances against the Federal Government delay in payment of their severance entitlements.
Chairman of the Nigerian Shipping Federation Unit Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade, Sunday Ben said the inaction of government on their matter has led to the death of their members while those alive are financially handicapped because they are being owed by the government they have served.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene on their matter and save them from the dangerous onslaught of poverty that has taken over their lives, stressing that age is not on their side and they cannot secure any gainful employment.
“We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan to look into this problem with utmost urgency it deserves.”
The spokesman for the group, Mr. Anomorisa Jackson said the delay by the federal government to effect payments of their entitlement has forced them out to protest and draw the government’s attention to their plights.
Jackson said since the Abacha Regime wound up the Nigeria National Shipping Line in 1995, the affected workers numbering 2000 were left without their severance package.
The group said 18 years struggle for their entitlement has been laden with promises that have not been fulfilled.
“After the liquidation of the National Line in 1995 frantic efforts were made for due payment. At the end the peanut was paid in the name of gratuity in the year 2007 with hope that in furtherance government in their goodwill will pay us our severance.
“Government deemed it necessary to set up a committee through the Federal Ministry of Transport a (verification committee) the committee did their work successfully Nationwide for about three weeks in February 2010.
The protesters said they are being treated as slaves denying them their professional contribution to the country especially when they jade served their nation diligently.
An official of the ministry who came to the scene of the protest however declined comment on the matter.

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