Wednesday, August 31, 2016 9:40 am
Two unions in the Nigerian aviation industry, the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN and the Nigerian Association of Pensioners have written President Muhammadu Buhari to protest the proposed concession of the four major airports in the country to private investors by the Federal Government.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation has recently said the Federal Government has finalized the process of concessioning the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport to private investors.
The aviation unions had last week held peaceful rallies against the concession in the premises of the four airports proposed for concession to private investors.
In continuation of that protest, the unions in the letter titled: “Workers and Pensioners of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Oppose the Proposed Concession of Four Viable Airports (MMIA, NAIA, PHC, AKIA)” raised 10 posers on the proposed concession as being touted by the Minister of State for Aviation.
They also argued while the President should stopped the concession.
The letter, dated 29 August was signed by Comrade Olayinka Olu Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE and Frances Akinjole, Head of Secretariat, ATSSSAN on behalf of the unions and the pensioners.
In the letter, the workers who said concession is nothing more than sale of government assets to private investors wondered why the Federal Government is interested in only the concession of the four major airports which are the “cash cows” sustaining the 17 other unviable airports in the country.
They also complained in the letter that the concession will jeopardize national security while previous privatization of agencies and parastatals in the sector has ended up as failures, citing different examples of such past efforts.
The workers cited the recent concession of the MMIA Car Park to a company which operated for 15 months, but could not remit any fund to FAAN “until the Unions and their workers took over and are now generating N800,000 daily.”
The workers also queried who will take over the staff liabilities and pensions of FAAN workers estimated at between N120 and N150 billion after the concession as well as the fate of workers in the airports considered unviable. “So, the question the Minister should answer is, “Who is going to be responsible for these liabilities? What would be the fate of workers in NAMA, NCAA, NIMET, AIB etc in these airports?” the workers queried.
The workers accused the Minister of “plan to compromise the security and safety of the Nigerian airspace and our airports at the expense of revenue” in the letter in which they sought for urgent intervention of the President to halt the proposed concession.
“We cannot allow FAAN to be privatized as it is being planned without discussing certain fundamental issues that are germane to the safety and security of our airports, the economic survival of workers/pensioners, job security and employment opportunity etc as whatever FAAN generates now is used to maintain and manage these 22 airports in Nigeria, pay salaries and allowances of over 6000 workers employed by her, pay pensions and severance benefits to her pensioners, retirees etc,” the workers said in the letter.
See the letter below: