Union to resist airport concession over past deals

 Hadi Sirika

Hadi Sirika

Without the review of past concession agreements, some workers in the aviation sector have vowed to resist any attempt by the government to concession four of the viable airports in the country.

The workers under the aegis of Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) faulted previous concession arrangements in the aviation sector, alleging that a large chunk of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) revenue channels had been concessioned illegally.

Secretary General of ANAP, Abdulrasaq Saidu, said that the onus is upon the Minister of State for Aviation to ask questions and look into the circumstances surrounding concessions agreements like the toll gates, car parks and fuel surcharge among others.

Saidu said: “We want to know what has become of the former concessionaires because as at today, 90 per cent of revenue points of FAAN has been concessioned out.  For example, when we have the commercial department of FAAN, what brought about the concession of bill boards across the nation’s airport at N800million and now down to N700million?

“Who concessioned the toll gates, car parks and fuel surcharge? These are things they have been hiding from people and we want government to visit that area. We are interested because past experience showed that there is conspiracy within FAAN and outside to divert the money of these concessionaires,” Saidu said.

Besides, the union queried why government wanted to concession only the four major viable airports in the country, instead of others that have been dependent on the big four to survive.

It would be recalled that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in the last few months had been working on plans to concession the airports, beginning with the first four in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The aim is to have them run efficiently and profitably.

In reaction, unions like the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) have also raised dissenting voices against the planned concession.

Saidu said: “So that is why we are against any form of concession and that is why we are against concession. The minister of State Aviation must ask questions and look into the issue of those concessions. When they say airlines owe government agencies, they will opt for reconciliations. What has been the outcome of their reconciliation? Have they been paying, is it not a conspiracy between some set of people in FAAN and airlines. That is the issue.

“It is a fundamental question because in Calabar there was concession and after nine months, the concessionaire ran away with the proceeds. Same thing happened to the toll gates. We use to have Task Force members to monitor these people and money was coming in, in hundreds of millions of naira, what was the rationale of not using workers of the organisation, when money was coming in, only to give it to people who they ask to pay N50 million to N60 million,” he said.

The secretary added that airports around the world are critical with serious concerns security, adding that to have them concessioned into wrong hands will not the country any good.

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FAANHadi Sirika
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