The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation led by Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has intervened in the labour crisis over the planned concession of four international airports across the country.
At a meeting with representatives of the unions at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja on Tuesday, the committee met the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP).
The unions told the Reps aviation committee that the two main reasons given by the Ministry for the concession of the four major airports in the country were not tenable.
The Secretary-General, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba revealed that the Aviation Ministry maintained that it was putting the airports for concession in order to bring them to global standards since the Federal Government didn’t have the funds to do so.
Comrade Aba also stated that the Ministry gave a second reason for the concession as the lack of adequate manpower within the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to manage the airports to the desired standards.
The unions described the whole exercise as lacking in sincerity and transparency stressing that though the Ministry asked them to nominate members into the project committee, their nominees were never carried along.
Comrade Aba remarked that if the Ministry goes ahead to concession the airports, there will be severe consequences because of the unending litigation that has bothered the MM2 terminal at the local wing of the Murtala Mohammad Airport, Lagos.
He also cited undervaluation of the existing assets and the contravention of the existing FAAN Act for the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to examine.
He maintained that there is no provision in FAAN Act that grants the Ministry the powers to transfer the responsibility of managing any airport to any other entity adding that,” what we have found out in the said concession arrangement is that the authority has no input in the matter rather it is the Ministry that is solely driving the whole process”.
The unions also stated that they were equally concerned that over $500m Chinese EXIM Bank loan used to remodel the four airports’ terminals was not being factored into the concession arrangements.
The House Committee Chairman, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji while urging the unions to articulate their views in writing and submit same to the committee, reassured them that as representatives of the people, the committee will protect the interest of the generality of Nigerians.
The airports slated for concession are the Murtala Mohammed Airport,(MMA) Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, (MAKIA) Kano and Port Harcourt International Airport.