Aviation Unions to Protest Nationwide against FG’s Plan to Concession Airports

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By Chinedu Eze

Labour unions in the aviation industry have said they have concluded plans to embark on nationwide industrial protest to kick against federal government’s plan to concession the nation’s airports

General Secretaries of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, (ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees, (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (ATSSSAN) made this known in a statement issued yesterday.

They described airport concession as a crime against the Nigerian people and insisted the plan must be resisted frontally.

In a joint statement, signed by the General Secretaries of ANAP, Abdulrazak Saidu, NAAPE, Ocheme Aba and ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole, the unions said they were not ignorant of the concessions or Public Private Partnership (PPP) procedures as being overseen by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

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“As a matter of fact, our well-considered contention that the ICRC has not performed due diligence on the concession programme, and that the ministry has not acted altruistically in the matter is borne out of our knowledge that both the Ministry and the ICRC have gravely failed to comply with the established PPP due process.”

Giving reasons for their opposition to the concession plan, the unions called attention to noticeable fundamental infractions in the handling of the airport concession project by the ICRC and the Ministry of Aviation.

“A major pre-requisite for enabling a PPP, according to ICRC regulation, is that, ‘The public entity should have enabling authority to transfer its responsibility – enabling legislative and policy framework or an administrative order to that effect”. But, we find nothing in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) Act that grants power to the Ministry of Aviation ‘to transfer its responsibility’, nor is there any clear ‘legislative & policy framework’ for such, nor is there an ‘Administrative order’ in that respect. Therefore, the airports concession is being undertaken in the absence of a basic pre-requisite, and in contravention of its major policy guideline.

“The mode of operation of the ICRC is to deal directly with the concessioner Ministry, or Department, or Agency (MDA); in this instance, the FAAN. But, as we all well know, “”FAAN has not even as much as done any project identification, or prioritisation, or concept note to the ICRC on concession of any airport in Nigeria to the ICRC as required by the publicly stated ICRC procedures.

“The only role FAAN has played so far is that of a representative member on the Project Delivery Team and the Steering Committee as appointed by the Minister. Therefore, the ICRC and the Ministry, by carrying on with the airports concession project outside the purview of FAAN is indicative of an unwholesome agenda. Such action is, in fact, unlawful as it contravenes Part II, 3(g) of the FAAN Establishment Act, 2004 as well as the Civil Aviation Act, 2005,” the statement read.

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