Aviation Unions Kick Against Planned Concession Of Airports
*Described the Certificate of Compliance by the ICRC as fraud
Four leading unions in the Nigerian aviation industry have vehemently kicked against the planned concession of four major airports in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the unions at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Comrade Ocheme Aba, the General Secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), told journalists in an ongoing meeting that Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation was fraudulent in his attempt to concession the selected airports.
He insisted that the plan to concession Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano was criminal and against public interest.
He argued that the airports slated for concession were the live wire of other 22 airports in the country, adding that several staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would lose their jobs.
He insisted that efforts to resolved the issue with the minster had been futile in the past and vowed that the unions would continue to kick against the attempt.
“In addition, the ICRC was requested to provide the required components for the OBCs for the upgraded projects which the Commission promised to provide at the next meeting. That next meeting is yet to be called till date. But now, the same ICRC has been said to have issued a Certificate of Compliance (C of C) to the Honourable Minister of Aviation for the Outline Business Case for concession of four international airports. So we ask, who is fooling who?
“For the records, the Project Delivery Team comprises about five Federal Ministries, including Aviation and Finance, and other agencies including FAAN and the ICRC itself, as well as two representatives of our Unions.
“Unfortunately, the Honourable Minister of Aviation completely sidestepped the Team and has gone ahead with his own programs 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 continue.
“For now, however, being a component part of the Team, we completely disown any false reports of the Team there might be, upon which the ICRC might have erroneously based the issuance of the said C of C. We avow hereby that the said Certificate is obtained on faulty grounds.
“Based on the above, we hereby alert President Muhammed Buhari, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the National Assembly and the general public not to be deceived by the “celebrated” Certificate of Compliance from the ICRC and not to approve the privately assembled Outline Business Case. This outline, for reasons stated, cannot be detached from individual embedded interests and may be a self-favouring booby trap,” Aba said.
Rather than concession the airports, he emphasized that government should encourage private investors to build airports in any state they so desired.
He said: “It is in realization of the need to credibly dissuade the government away from the concession of our four major international airports that led aviation Unions to join forces and came up with some credible alternatives as against the misguided contraption of concession. We are thus, again, reiterating some of the options we had severally presented before the unrepentant advocates of concession.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) can be corporatized in which the Federal Government shall retain 45 per cent equity share while the remaining 55 per cent is broken down for public acquisition. This is the model adopted by some other climes in similar circumstance as ours, like South Africa and this would build investors’ confidence and attract foreign Direct Investment (FDI), making the much desired infrastructural decay to be attended to, while Labour related issues would be at the barest minimum, or Ministry and the Presidency which has been the bane of effective and efficient performance of the aviation sector in Nigeria.
“For avoidance of doubt, our Unions with all aviation workers, particularly FAAN workers and pensioners, will not co-operate with the concession program of the Honourable Minister of Aviation and will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that the machinations of the few against public interest ends here. 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.
“In the above regard, we shall soon publish our itinerary of public nationwide protests against this unsavoury machination. These protests shall last as long as the idea to concession Nigerian airports remains alive”.