The Association of Former Telecoms Employees of Nigeria (ATEN) has debunked media reports alleging that staff of the NITEL and M-TEL had been fully settled through a 5-year negotiated buyout plan by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).
In a press statement, signed by the Secretary-General of the Association, Comrade Makinde Olusegun Michael, ATEN said only mad pensionable staff would accept a 5-year buy-out plan when they are entitled to pension for life.
Rather, the Secretary explained that, ” Apart from authority that was conferred on the BPE to settle NITEL/M-TEL as at 2005, whose residual are still lying with BPE, any settlement of entitlement owed by the Federal Government to NITEL/M-TEL retired, pensionable/disengaged and casual staff are to be settled by Liquidator, Otunba Senbore Olutola, whose ownership of NITEL/M-TEL have been legally transferred to by the government, through a competent court of law, with reference to CAMA 1990.”
He stated that the same liquidator has successfully sold the companies to a preferred bidder, NATCOM Consortium, an indigenous firm, under the supervision of BPE, “hence BPE should stop misinforming staff on the matter”.
“Only the ignorant among the retired and pensionable/disengaged staff will look up to the BPE for his/her retirement and other benefits at the moment.”
The association also noted that though the N 45.36 billion, which NATCOM Consortium purchased the two companies from the liquidator was grossly inadequate to pay all the benefits of the creditors of NITEL/M-TEL, other avenues could be explored to settle all the benefits.
The statement said, ” Such as the several Billions of Naira in the hand of the Liquidator Otunba Adekanola, about N120 billion pension fund of NITEL/M-TEL, illegally liquidated by BPE and its accomplish, money realized from sales of non-core assets, such as NITEL/M-TEL landed properties, staff quarters, offices, training schools, cables and obsolete equipment, staff buses. Others are debts owned by federal and government agencies, individuals and corporate bodies like the military, para-military and several billions in SAT 3 Accounts, among others.
“Funds gotten from the sales of these properties can be added to the proceeds from sales of the companies for full settlement of entitlement.”
The Secretary-General then called on all NTEL/M-TEL retired, pensionable/disengaged and casual staff that are yet to register with the association to do so, through their states’ co-odinators and national officials as they await payment from the liquidator in March 2015.