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Union raises concerns over airport concession

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By Timothy Akintola

Federal Government urged to review concession plans of major airports.

Earlier, the Federal Government announced its intention to concession the airports in Abuja, Lagos and Kano and with preferred and reserved bidders for three out of the four airports and cargo terminals approved after their Request for Proposal in phase of the Nigeria Airport Concession Programme, NACP. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation noted that this concession was resulted closely after a multistage process but noted that it was not NACP’s final decision.

In light of this government decision, a coalition of aviation unions have thus demanded that the Federal Government review its plans to concession major airports in the country. It further criticized the government’s plan for partnering with Ethiopian Air over the inauguration of the country’s national carrier, Nigeria Air. The Union, in a statement titled “That the aviation roadmap may not become an Aviation mishap”, the union again called on the government to immediately suspend the proposed Demolition of FAAN, NAMA and NCAA headquarters respectively.

Rush in project actualization to affect the aviation industry.

This coalition, consisting of the Air Transport Unions, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Air Transport Employees noted that while they were not against the airport concession, they argued that the right process must be followed to ensure that the general public, and not just a few individuals enjoyed the benefits. In the statement, the union stated that Hadi Sikira, at the beginning of President Buhari’s tenure, came up with an idea themed “Aviation roadmap” which included projects like the establishment of a national carrier, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft leasing company, agro-allied airports, as well as the concession of four major airports in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja and Kano.

They however complained about the projects not being delivered even till now and as a result, the immense rush to deliver these promises at all costs. This rush has however catalyzed a suspicion and plethora of missteps which will affect the aviation industry in the country. They agreed that these projects were important in the long run for the growth of the industry, as the theme had been a recurrent idea within the aviation industry for a long time. However, the union averred that they were worried about the manner of this delivery, as well as whether what is being delivered was exactly what the country needed.

Numerous modernization projects achieved in NMA, AIB and NCAT.

Stating their wish of not being misunderstood, they posited their recognition of the huge footprint of the President Buhari association in the country’s aviation industry, as well as the great development recorded under the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika. The Union noted that numerous modernization projects had been achieved in the Nigeria Metrological Agency, Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria. All these developments, contributing to the improvement of the flying experience in Nigeria’s airspace.

They however aired their grievances as to witnessing the immense bastardization of the Aviation Roadmap objectives. Since the decision to concession the four major airports in the country, the union have strongly projected their criticisms of this proposal, opposing the type of envisioned concession by the transaction adviser. Loopholes such as the extension of concession scope to the terminal surroundings, up onto FAAN’s housing estate, arbitrary fixing of profit-sharing ratio in the favor of the concessionaire, transgression against ICRC Act and many more.

The Union said it was imperative to protect worker’s interests.

The Union however noted that it was imperative to take actions for legitimately safeguarding the interests of the workers to be affected by the unwholesome concession exercise. They also noted that the union would activate the citizens right agenda, so as to prevent the abuse of patrimony by those in power. The Union however indicated plans to call out the Federal Executive Council to stop the approval of the airport concession programme, as well as urging the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and Civil Society Organization to collaborate with them towards rescuing the patrimony from the power in the aviation industry.


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