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Air Nigeria staffers protest sack

Workers of Air Nigeria who were sacked this week when the Nigerian flag carrier suspended its operations Friday staged a protest march in the commercial city of Lagos.

The workers, acting under the umbrella National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said they were sacked even when the airline is owing them four months salaries.

Some of the staffers said they read the news of their sack in the newspapers.

They carried many placards, some of which reads: ”Fraud, Jimoh Ibrahim (Airline owner) stole 35.5 billion naira of the Bank of industry”, ”Jimoh Ibrahim where is our cooperative money,” and ”Air Nigeria is dead, Jimoh Ibrahim don chop our money well well.”

NAAPE used the occasion to issue a seven-day ultimatum to the airline’s management to pay the back salaries and the entitlements of the over 700 workers of the airline who were sacked or face some unspecified actions.

Addressing the workers, NAAPE President Isaac Balami urged Mr. Ibrahim to pay the salaries arrears of the workers for May, June, July and August 2012.

”He should also pay them varying lump sum in lieu of notice of their sack’’ and pay them their contributory pensions in accordance with the pension act as subscribe to by the Airline,” Balami said.

On Tuesday, Air Nigeria announced the suspension of its local, regional and international operations with effect from 10 Sept. 2012.

The airline’s management said in a statement that the action resulted from staff disloyalty and weak business environment which are not conducive for business in the aviation sector.

The latest suspension of the airline’s operations was the latest snag to hit it.

Shortly after the regulatory Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended its operations earlier this year, Air Nigeria – an offshoot of former Virgin Nigeria that started operations in June 2005 – announced it was suspending its local and regional flights following reports that it was financial distressed.

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