Pensioners of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have strongly kicked against the proposed concession of the country’s four most viable airports by the minister of state for aviation, Senator HadiSirika, by raising some salient issues of concern to the nation.
The pensioners in a statement signed by comrade RasakiOpe, the national chairman and EmekaNjoku, admin secretary, raised the issue of the identity of the concessionaires, security of the nation among others as some of the salient issues that must be addressed.
According to the pensioners in their statement: “In our recent position, we mentioned about security of these airports, they are not built to make profit but to link this nation with other countries in the world. Therefore, it should be guided with all necessary machinery.
We posit that, at present the Chinese are still constructing and expanding international airports, which the minister want to concession to foreigners. This is a clear case of colonisation”.
The pensioners maintained that these four viable airports are being managed by Nigerians over the years and it was graded category ‘A’ and not by foreigners.
The union, while asking why Arab companies were chosen as the concessionaires, stated that ”we all know the antecedents of Arab states. Where we find all types of people with questionable characters (we are afraid)”.
They urged the minister to bring out the blueprint of all those he wants to concession the nation’s sovereignty to, so that the security agents can investigate their activities.
The pensioners observed that KLM was brought in some years ago to manage Nigeria Airways; they left the airline worse than they met it without putting any meaningful structure in place.
“Also of note is the high level of incursion into the vast acres of land at MMIA with the connivance of people from the Aviation Ministry thereby stalling room for future expansion of the complex,” the pensioners said.
They advised that the minster should rather focus his attention on the previous and some present officials and unofficial land grabbers who have bought acres of the airport land.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services they are referring as a good example of Airport concession through Public Private Partnership is not an airport wrongly claimed but a terminal operator. Since Bi-Courtney has been operating the terminal, it has been one court case or the other with the FAAN and its purported plan to take over the GAT claiming it was part of the concession agreement. The company has refuse up to date to remit what is due to FAAN for the services it has all along being enjoying from the authority” FAAN pensioners said.
They maintained that another example of bad concession that has been running foul in the mouth was the concession of the revenue collection of FAAN to MEAVIS Nigeria Ltd which later led to series of court cases and eventually MEAVIS left without fulfilling the tenets of the agreement entered into.
The pensioners stated that: “We are sending a warning signal to the minister of aviation to retrace his steps as regards the planned concession of the four international airports which were made viable by Nigerian cum workers of FAAN”.
The pensioners queried, “why not concession all the unviable airports to the so-called experts or investors to make those viable?”