Four aviation unions have accused the minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika of forging the certificate of compliance claimed to have emanated from, the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
Their argument is that, till date there is no scope from the transaction adviser on the concession of the said airports.
They therefore, vowed to stop the proposed concession of Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt International Airports in the country as proposed by the federal government.
The unions: National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), FAAN branch, in a statement, issued recently, titled: “Airport Concession Is A Crime Against Nigerian People: It Must Be Resisted Frontally” said they will do everything possible to stop the government from forging ahead with the airports’ concession.
The unions in the statement jointly signed by the general secretary of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba; deputy general secretary ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole; secretary general of ANAP, Comrade Abulrasaq Saidu and general secretary, NUP, Comrade Emeka Njoku alleged that, everything so far about the issue of concession for the four airports have been single handedly decided by the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and that, the Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has not carried out any due diligence on to the concession exercise.
According to the unions, if their requests are not granted by the Minister, they will make the airspace unusable.
Speaking on behalf of the unions at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Comrade Aba, lamented, that the Minister of Aviation completely sidestepped the team and has gone ahead with his own programs as determined by himself alone.
Recall that the Minister of Aviation recently received the Certificate of Compliance issued him by the ICRC which confirms that he has complied with all needed requirements to proceed with the process of concession for the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.
However, the unions claimed, that there is need for a clear cut transactional scope so that the country knows what the minister has complied with and what the scope of the concession will be.
They maintained that, till date there is no scope from the transaction adviser, querying how did the ICRC gave a certificate of compliance.
“As far as we know, the Transaction Adviser has yet as at date, not submitted the report of the scope of the transaction to the project delivery team. This raises the big question as to what is really being concessioned at those airports. The whole airport? Or, are we to believe that only Terminals will be concessioned? Or facilities within the terminals? No one knows, except the Honorable Minister of Aviation. And this draws attention to the opaque nature of the concession conjecture.
“While the Project Delivery Team (PDT) – which includes the ICRC – was still discussing the issue of Transaction Adviser (TA), the Minister of Aviation was on air announcing the approval of FEC of a TA and his fees. Both the TA and the fees were apparently decided solely by the Minister. Up till date, the PDT has not been allowed to take a position on the matter, its effort in that direction being frustrated.”
For that reason he said, the unions have decided that, it shall review its membership of the PDT if this type of public deceit and shenanigan continue.
The unions further said the fact that the airports concessioning exercise is being directly carried out by the Honorable Minister of Aviation is of serious concern as he does not run any airport, nor does the FAAN Act grant him any powers to concession FAAN assets.
The union said “the Honorable Minister has completely usurped the functions of the management and the Governing Board of the Authority. As such he has unlawfully arrogated to himself the powers to enter into agreements in the place of FAAN. This is to the extent that there is now no difference between the Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). This is a serious infraction; a travesty and an anomaly.”
“As can be clearly seen from the foregoing, the planned concession of the only four revenue generating airports of FAAN is an ill wind of which the only beneficiary is the source of the wind. As such, our Unions come against the exercise and will resist it with our strongest stance. We are compelled to act so in recognition of our corporate citizenship and our sacred responsibility to the general public and fellow Nigerians to safeguard our common patrimony.”
On way forward, the unions provided alternatives against the proposed airport concession. The models suggested by the unions include: Green Field concession, corporatisation of FAAN, complete autonomy of FAAN without the usual political meddlesome-ness.
On a possible industrial action, the unions said: “for avoidance of doubt, our Unions with all aviation workers, particularly FAAN workers and pensioners, will not co-operate with the concession program of the Honorable Minister of Aviation and will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that the machinations of the few against public interest ends here”.