Monday, June 14, 2021

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TUC kicks against FG’s plan to concession Lagos, Abuja airports

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In a statement signed by Quadri Olaleye, president of TUC, and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, secretary-general of TUC, on Thursday, the union urged the federal government to experiment with non-viable airports.

On June 23, the federal government said it was planning to concession the airports.

The airports listed for concession are Murtala Muhammed International Airport; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport; Port Harcourt International Airport and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.

“To arrogantly declare that the concession is a ‘foregone conclusion’ is the peak of impunity which this administration preached against,” the statement read.

“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 the 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 stifle and incapacitate Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) – a parastatal created by an act of parliament?

“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 corporatisation 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 the government.

“Under corporatisation model, the 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.

“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 the fight against corruption yet cannot prevent wastages and excessive government interferences which have been the bane of the country’s development since independence?”

The union advised that the concession process be replicated at the four major airports if it is successful at smaller airports.

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