Aviation workers vow to resist airport concession

 Aviation workers vow to resist airport concessionFault N1.7b consultation fee award

Aviation workers yesterday rejected the planned concession of the big four airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, describing the processes as faulty and unilateral decision of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The workers, under the coalition of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigerians Aviation Professionals (ANAP), vowed not to cooperate with the concession programme.

The Federal Government has in the last five years been working on a plan to concession the 22 airports nationwide, beginning with the big four, to ensure that they run efficiently and profitably.

Just recently, the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) issued the Certificate of Compliance (C of C) to the minister, ahead of Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC).

The coalition, at a meeting in Lagos yesterday, faulted all the moves so far made on the project, including the N1.7 billion FEC approved as consultancy fee.

The General Secretary of NUATE, Ochemba Aba, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, FEC, National Assembly and the general public not to be deceived by the C of C from the ICRC and also not to approve the alleged privately assembled OBC.

He said that, for the records, the project delivery team comprised about five federal ministries, including aviation and finance, and other agencies, including Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the ICRC itself, as well as two representatives of NUATE.

“Unfortunately, the minister of aviation completely sidestepped the team and has gone ahead with his own programmes as determined by himself alone. Our unions have decided that we shall have to review our membership of the PDT if this type of public deceit and shenanigan continued.

“For now, however, being a component part of the team, we completely disown any false reports of the PDT upon which the ICRC might have erroneously based the issuance of the said C of C. We avow hereby that the said certificate was obtained on faulty grounds,” Aba said.

Deputy General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Francis Akinjole, said the workers had consistently expressed their dissatisfactions with the planned concession of the airports given past experiences with privatisation, and more so, the four airports are the biggest revenue earners for the industry.

Akinjole said: “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 are 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.”

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