Mohammed Ndarani Mohammed SAN, Advocates For Early And Intense Disbursement Of Benefits And Entitlements To More Than 17,696 Former NITEL/MTEL Workers

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ndarani Mohammed Mohammed, has called on the Federal Government to promptly make payment of the entitlements and benefits of over 17,696 former NITEL/MTEL employees who retired and disengaged in 2006, following the liquidation of NITEL-MTEL between 2012 – 2014.

In a document sighted by our reporter, the SAN said, “The provisions of Section 13 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) state that it shall be the duty and responsibility of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers to confirm, observe, and apply the provisions of this Constitution.

“In the light of the above provision of the Constitution, I humbly advocate that the Federal Government of Nigeria should take urgent steps to observe and apply the provisions of Section 173 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution and, in consonance with the same, adequately pay the accrued benefits and entitlements of over 17,696 former Nitel/Mtel staff disengaged from active service in 2006 and were paid only 5 years of “buy-out,” but yet to be paid their outstanding entitlements and benefits in line with the provision of the aforementioned Sections of the Constitution despite the liquidation of Nitel/Mtel between 2012-2014.

“Several letters have been written requesting the payment of all the withheld entitlements of these retired/disengaged staff in accordance with the provisions of Section 173(1)) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Article 15 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, but all efforts proved abortive, hence the retirees/disengaged staff are in serious, untold hardship; some in precarious health challenges, and some are already dead.

Mohammed Ndarani Mohammed SAN

“Since the liquidation of Nitel/Mtel in the year 2012/2014, the right to the life of over 17,696 former Nitel/Mtel retirees has been deprived, contrary to Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution, despite the Joinder of claims of the over 17,696 former Nitel/Mtel staff in the liquidation process joined as necessary parties at the Federal High Court Abuja.

“That it will be in the interest of justice, equity, and good conscience that the retirees are adequately paid their entitlements and benefits since a labourer always deserves his wages.

Recall that the former workers of the defunct national telecommunications conglomerate, Nigeria Telecommunications Plc (NITEL), picketed and temporarily shut down the premises of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for hours, holding the workers hostage.

The workers were aggrieved over the failure of BPE to settle the billions of Naira workers’ disengagement benefits, many years after the privatisation of NITEL.