Aviation workers in Lagos, Abuja and Kano embarked on a protest against the Federal Government plan to concession major airports in the country.

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The aviation workers also kicked against the government directive to return all staff that retired from 1st April 2014 to PenCom.

The Federal Government has expressed readiness to give out terminal building, toll Gates to private operators in a public-private enterprise.

Employees under various unions in the aviation sector vowed to resist the moves by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to give out the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano international airports on the concession.

The members of the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employee (NUATE), and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) had set aside Monday 31st to embark on the peaceful protest to register their displeasure on the government position.

National Union of Air Transport Employee Protest.
National Union of Air Transport Employee Protest.

According to them, the concession exercise was in bad faith, as they threatened to shut the entire sector if the minister continued with the concession plan.

In his address at the protest in Abuja, the Chairman, NUATE, Ahmed Yusuf, said, “We are protesting because, during the lockdown, the Minister of Aviation surprisingly received the Outline Business Case certificate for the concession of the four most viable airports out of the 22 airports in Nigeria.

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“This came as a surprise and an insincere act. It lacked transparency and the staff were not carried along. We totally reject the concession because it is not transparent.”

Yusuf added that the concession of the four viable airports would mean the death of the remaining 18 airports which depend on them (the four).

He said, “It is a disaster waiting to happen and definitely jobs will be lost. The Lagos airport alone can sustain the 22 airports so why the concession?”

The Chairman of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Hassan Aliyu insisted the concession plan will force retrenchment on staff while the future of those retired may not be assured.

Aviation Workers protest.
Aviation Workers protest.

Aliyu cited the concession plan of Murtala Muhammad (MM2), Lagos and the defunct NEPA that failed to yield positive output but rather a crippling carrier and sending retirees to an early grave.

Aliyu disclosed that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria staff are satisfied with the traditional pension scheme being operated by FAAN and would rather not succumb to any forceful attempt to return aviation workers to PENCOM.

Meanwhile, domestic plight operations were not affected by the peaceful protest as passengers were seen embarking on their busy movement.