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Aviation unions to embark on nationwide protest

L-R Deputy General secretary, comrade Frances Akinjole, Secretary General, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba and secretary General, ANAP, comrade Abdulrazak Saidu at a news conference in Lagos over the planned concession of 4 airports

Aviation unions say they are embarking on a nationwide protests against the planned concession of selected airports in the country.

The airports, Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos, Mall am Aminu Kano international airport, Kano, Port Harcourt International airport, Omagwa and Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja.

At a news conference in Lagos, the unions said the protests would last as long as the idea of the concession of Nigerian airports remained alive.

The aviation unions say, if the idea of concession was not dropped, they have sought the support of its National bodies, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, United Labour Congress, ULC and the Trade Union congress, TUC, to escalate the engagements and protests.

The aggrieved Unions in the matter of airport concession are the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP, National Union of Transport Employees, NUATE and the National Union of Pensioners, NUP, FAAN branch alleged that everything that had to do with the issue of concession was being single handedly decided by the Minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika.

Secretary General, NUATE Comrade Aba Ocheme said, the action of the Minister had completely usurped the functions of the Management and the Governing Board of the Authority which the Minister had failed to inaugurate.

He emphasized that the recent presentation of certificate of compliance by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, to the minister was a shock to the unions as they have not be carried along as members of the project delivery team.

Comrade Aba stated that the decision to concession 4 out of the 22 airports was the height of dishonesty, adding that the proposed airports to be concession were the life wire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, as the rest of the airports were dependent on the 4 airports for sustenance.

“As a matter of fact, without the four, the other airports will die automatically. Therefore, to concession these four airports is to close up FAAN completely. But considering the basis of creating these other airports which is the public interest of opening up the entire country, even nationwide development, and national unity, one would wonder the rationale behind the idea of sacrificing these undeniably noble goals on the altar of a superficial notion of private investment.”

Secretary General of ANAP, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu said, the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the ICRC certificate had demonstrated that personal interest cannot be extricated from Nigeria’s privatization experience.

“As can be clearly seen from the foregoing, the planned concession of the only four revenue generating airports of FAAN is an ill wind of which the only beneficiary is the source of the wind. As such, our Unions come against the exercise and will resist it with our strongest stance. We are compelled to act so in recognition of our corporate citizenship and our sacred responsibility to the general public and fellow Nigerians to safeguard our common patrimony.”

Deputy General secretary, ATSSSAN, comrade Frances Akinjole , therefore called on President Mohammadu Buhari, the Federal Executive Council, the National Assembly and the general public to intervene as the parties concerned failed to follow due process and therefore the concession should not be approved.

“The concession of Nigerian airports in the opaque manner prescribed by the Honourable Minister of Aviation must be denied daylight so as to suffer perpetual darkness.”

The unions suggested other credible alternatives to concession to include, green field concession which empowers new investors deal on fresh ventures which includes construction of runways, terminal buildings among others be operated for a specified period of time and compete with the existing airports before handing them over to government,

others are to corporatize the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in which the Federal Government shall retain 45% equity share while the remaining 55% is broken down for public acquisition and Complete autonomy of FAAN without any undue political interference.

Nosa Aituamen

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