Aviation Unions have roundly rejected and described the ongoing process by the federal government to concession the “Big Four” international airports in Nigeria as being in bad shape.
The aviation unions, comprising of, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, (ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees, (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (ATSSSAN), stated this as part of their planned systematic opposition to the concession on Monday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport ahead of shutting the entire aviation industry if the minister goes on with the concession.
Although The Minister had consistently said the concession of the Big Four: the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport Kano, the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos and the Port Harcourt International Airport, is part of the reforms in the aviation sector and claims the concession would rather create more jobs, the unions see otherwise.
Speaking during the protest, Comrade Ahmed Yusuf, the Chairman, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) said the Unions were protesting because while it members were on lockdown, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika surprising received the outline business case (OBC) certificate for the concession of the four most viable airports out of the 22 airports in Nigeria.
An action which he said came as a surprise and an insincere act as it lacked transparency because the staff were not carried along.
“We totally reject the concession because it is not transparent. If the four viable airports are concessioned, the remaining 18 airports will die because these four airports sustain the other airports. It is a disaster waiting to happen and definitely jobs will be lost. The Lagos airport alone can sustain the 22 airports so why the concession?” He asked.
He said the unions had suggested Greenfield concession where the concessionaire will acquire a virgin land, build, operate and transfer the airports as a way of creating more jobs opportunities during and after construction to further drive competition.
Similarly, Comrade Samuel Wuyep, the Abuja chapter Chairman of ATTSSAN said noted that the Unions have never agreed to the concessioning of the airports, and vowed that the Unions would continue to resist the planned concession of the four most profitable airports in Nigeria because the action will lead to job losses and the process is not transparent.
” We oppose to and we will continue to oppose it. Procedurally, there are certain steps to take, we just went through the first step and the minister abandoned it and when to obtain a certificate from ICRC. There is no transparency in it” he said.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen, Hadi Sirika has already commenced the process to concession the Big Four.
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