Aviation unions and workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) have staged a peaceful protest to express their disapproval with the concession of the Lagos and Abuja Airports by the Federal Government.
Scores of FAAN workers stormed the Freedom Square leading to the entrance of the authority’s headquarters to draw attention to what they described as illegal selling of the airports to people who are unknown to workers.
They carried placards with different inscriptions like, ‘ Hadi Sirika must Go, Hadi Sirika renovated N50m Abuja runway forN10b”,” Yemi Osibanjo is misinformed”,” Concession is evil, airports marked for concession are live wire of FAAN etc.
A mock coffin written, concession RIP and Hadi Sirika RIP was also carried during the protest
The exercise led to traffic at the airport, as many passengers had to come down from their vehicles to trek to avoid missing their flights.
The unions made up of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals ( ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( ATSSSAN ) stressed that if the airports considered viable are to be concessioned, the unions must be carried along and their welfare paramount.
Addressing workers, ATSSSAN National President, Comrade Illitrus Ahmadu said the workers were opposed to the concession of airports because the template is not clear to them and the parameters used by government.
Ahmadu said the workers will use every instrument at their disposal to battle government to frustrate the concession of airports.
He said the unions must be united to protect their collective interest of protecting their jobs.
Also speaking, General secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE), Comrade Olayinka Abioye said the unions will mobilize to frustrate airports concession moves by government .
He said government needs to engage the unions before government could consider the concession of the airports.
” The Vice President cannot go on his Twitter handle to say airports have been concession end. Nigerian government is not run on Tweet itter. The vp said two airports will be concessions and the minster says four airports so they are in confusion both minister and vp do not understand each other.”
Abioye said issues that will arise from the concession of the airports including job losses should be properly looked into .
He said the minister of state, aviation, Hadi Sirika should demonstrate transparency on the concession of airports .
He said FAAN has 64 legal cases over concessions that have not been resolved, yet government wants to go ahead to concession the airports.
” FG is budgeting 600million for overseas to advertise the airports overseas. But if you concession the cash cows Lagos and Abuja what about Ibadan and Akure? They will die automatically.
” In a paper connected to the concession I saw, Sirika is to spend N659 million, N125 million to travel outside the country to market and campaign for people to come and do concession, they are going to Dubai, US and Canada. Hadi is heavily involved in fraud, every money they spend, it is FAAN that bear the brunt, he is economical with the truth concerning concession”
“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 wants to build university of aviation in Abuja when our foremost aviation college, NCAT is heavily indebted
He vowed that despite approval by government, aviation unions will mobilize against the concession of airports.
Abioye alleged that Sirika has not shown transparency in his handling of issues in the industry.
He said the airports could only run effectively until officials of the ministry stop unbridled interference in the activities of aviation agencies.