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FAAN workers reject airport concession plan

By on August 2, 2016

Workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria have rejected the concession plan by the Federal Government for four international airports in the country located in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.

The workers, under the aegis of the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, have vowed to resist the move.

In a statement, which was signed by the Assistant General Secretary, NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye, and obtained on Sunday, the workers accused the government of not putting their interest in consideration in the airport concession plans.

Abioye said, “When the defunct Nigeria Airways was liquidated, workers were left to die without their severance pay or pensions, which rose to over N72bn.

“Government, particularly, in the last 10 years has been shifting its core responsibilities and this may be due to globalisation. There is nothing wrong with that if it is purpose-driven and done with honesty. With what we are seeing, we do not believe that Nigeria is ripe for concession and privatisation of public utilities.”

He said a major reason why the workers were opposed to the plan was that all past efforts for the concession of government’s facilities had failed due to lack of transparency.

He added that the few that were seen as successful were skewed in favour of the investors and against the interest of the public.

The government had said it could no longer fund the development of the airports’ facilities due to its lean resources.

The private sector was invited to invest in the facilities through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement. The concession of the major airports is to be part of the arrangement.

However, an industry analyst, Mike Chikeka, said it had become impossible for the government to continue funding the development of the airports.

He said airport facilities would become obsolete and could jeopardise safety if the private sector was not allowed to rescue the industry.

“I am troubled by the state of our airports. Our airports, which are the first point of call to foreigners into Nigeria, have become a national embarrassment,” Chikeka stated.