September 10 21:25 2020 Print This Article

By Martin Odiete, Abuja

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has kicked against the planned concession of the country’s four major Airports: the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA); Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA); Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) declaring that they should rather experiment with the non-viable airports.

In a statement jointly signed by TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye FCIA, MINM and its Secretary General, Comrade (Barr.) Musa-Lawal Ozigi, mni they noted that to arrogantly declare that the concession is a “forgone conclusion” is peak of impunity which this administration preached against. Virtually all aspects of our national life have been breached.

Stating further, the statement continues, “The social contract this government entered into when we voted for it has been grossly violated. Concessions have been made in the past and there is nothing to show for it today. The tenacity with which the Minister of Aviation and his cronies are going about the project is a matter of concern to us in the labour movement. It is a matter of the hand of Esau and voice of Jacob!

“The question is, why these four major airports? Why not invest in other airports scattered across the country? Why do they want to stifled and incapacitate Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) – a parastatal created by an Act of Parliament?  From experience, past concessions of our common patrimonies have always been bedeviled with tales of woes. The Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) owned and operated by the Bi-courtney Aviation Services Limited is an eloquent testimony. The controversy surrounding the deal as per number of years to operate and amount of money owed FAAN are still lingering issues.

“If the Minister and the forces behind him are sincere and genuinely desire a business model that would reposition the aviation industry they should adopt the Green Field and Corporatization models which empower new investors to among others construct new runways, terminal buildings and thereafter operate for a specified period of time before handing over to government. Under Corporatization model, government gives the running of the business to a statutory board/agency to autonomously carry out operations of the airport on a purely commercial basis same way the Airports Company of South Africa operates.

“The Ethiopian Airports Authority, Egyptian Airports Authority, etc. are all doing great. Nigeria is more endowed in all ramifications than these countries but it is obvious they have better economy managers. How can we claim to be “Giant of Africa” and yet cannot manage little things? What we have are powerful individuals while our institutions suffer! Nigeria has become a laughing stock before tiny countries in Africa! How can we make so much noise about fight against corruption yet cannot prevent wastages and excessive government interferences which has been the bane of the country’s development since independence?

“The Congress is vehemently opposed to any move to concession/privatize our Airports. Nigerians have toiled day and night to contribute their own quota to the growth of the Aviation industry, nay the country at large. We urge government to  kick -start this project with the underutilized airports as a pilot scheme. If successful, then it can be replicated in other airports.  

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