The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Thursday 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).
Rather, the congress advised the Federal Government to experiment with the non-viable airports across the country.
The TUC decried the arrogance of the government on the issue of the airports’ concession, adding that for the government to have arrogantly declared that the concession is a “foregone conclusion” is the peak of impunity which this administration preached against.
“Virtually all aspects of our national lives have been breached. 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 the voice of Jacob.” The congress said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Signed by the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye and the Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the statement read:
“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? From experience, past concessions of our common patrimonies have always been bedevilled with tales of woes.
“The Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) owned and operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited is eloquent testimony. The controversy surrounding the deal as per the 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 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.”
It added: “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 economic 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.
The statement further said that the Congress “is vehemently opposed to any move to concession/privatise our Airports;” adding, “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 the government to kick-start this project with the underutilised airports as a pilot scheme. If successful, then it can be replicated in other airports.”
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