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Sirika Hijacks Airport Concession Project, Unions Insist

Workers Set For Nationwide Protest

Lagos- Aviation unions have reiterated their stands against the planned concession of four major airports in the country by the Federal Government.

The union insisted that the project is skewed against the growth and interest of Nigeria, especially the over 10,000 workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and laid with selfish interest

The unions; National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) in a joint statement by their General Secretaries accused Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation of hijacking the concession process in connivance with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), an agency responsible for regulation of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the country.

The unions in the statement, which was released to aviation journalists on Sunday in Lagos, declared that Sirika in disregard to procedure established by the ICRC, FAAN Act and the Civil Aviation Act, took over the concession process.

Some of the airports slated for concession in the first phase of the exercise are Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, while the 18 others are slated for the second phase of the exercise, according to Sirika.

The unions emphasized that it would soon carry out a nationwide protest against the planned concession of some of the airports in the country by Sirika, stressing that they won’t allow an individual to take over the common patrimony.

The unions said: “The Hon. Minister, with naked power, completely hijacked the airports concession project from FAAN and prevented the ownership of the process by FAAN in disregard to procedure established by the ICRC, the FAAN Act and the Civil Aviation Act.

“In this regard, take note that it is the Minister, instead of FAAN that set up the Project Delivery Team (PDT). It is under the Minister’s auspices, instead of FAAN, that all the documents for the processes were produced. It is the Minister, instead of FAAN, that received the ICRC certificate of Compliance. Clearly, the Minister, instead of FAAN, is driving the concession exercise.

“On the strength of that, we shall stand firm against any attempt to share our common patrimony in the guise of a phony concession exercise. And we enjoin all Nigerians who love the fatherland to join us as we prepare for nationwide public protests to be kicked off shortly in order to compel a rethink in a positive direction. There is no going back.”

The unions insisted that they were not ignorant of the ICRC processes, insisting that the commission had not performed due diligence on the concession programme, while the Ministry had not acted altruistically on the matter.

The unions insisted that the airports concession was being undertaken in the absence of a basic pre-requisite and in contravention of its major policy guideline, saying that the mode of operation of the ICRC was to deal directly with the concessioner ministry, department or agency, which was supposed to be FAAN in this case.

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By Meletus EZE
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