Airport concession campaign to cost N659m

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*The protesters matching through Airport Road, Ikeja

As the federal government resolves to parcel out the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to concessionaires, labour unions have alleged that N659 million government had earmarked N659 million to execute the concession campaign.

The revelation was made in Lagos today when employees of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) under the umbrella of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) staged a peaceful protest against the federal government’s plan.

Addressing the protesters at the Freedom Square on the driveway to FAAN headquarters, the general secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye alleged that N125 million out of N659 million had been set aside for overseas travels and road shows.

“In this age of technology, you don’t need to travel overseas to advertise the concession of airports. You can do that from the comfort of your office. Why would the federal government approve such huge cash to travel overseas to sell the concession programme. The money set aside to do the campaign is provided by FAAN,” he said.

He also said there was confusion in the federal executive council because the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, were not on the same page.

“The vice president took to his twitter handle to announce that the Lagos and Abuja airports had been given to concessionaires. But Senator Sirika said four airports are going to be given out to concessionaires. This shows that they do not understand themselves. Again, Nigerian government is not run from a twitter handle, let alone a serious issue like airport concession,” said Abioye.

Abioye also criticized the federal government for selling viable airports while leaving those ones that serve as alternate aerodromes.

“When you sell a cash cow like the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, what happens to Akure and Ibadan airports? We are not averse to any policy that will improve service delivery, but we will oppose policy that will stymie the growth of the aviation sector and our members.

In his speech, the president of ATSSSAN, Mr. Ahmadu Ilitrus said the protest against airport concession was a collective struggle that should be fought to the end.

He said labour would continue to engage the federal government so as to forestall the mistake made in the concession of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2.

“MMA2 is the worst example of concession in the world. Nobody can tell you the tenure of the concession. Since the concession was consummated, no royalty has been paid to FAAN. Even if FAAN had no source of revenue, it would naturally collect royalty from the MMA2, but that is not happening,” he said.

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