- Raises alarm over safety, security around airstrips
ASSOCIATION of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) has said that unions in the countries would maintain their stand on against the planned concession of some major airports across the country by the newly re-appointed Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation.
This is however as he said ANAP has thrown its weight behind government’s plan to birth a new national carrier.
General Secretary of ANAP, Comrade Abdulrazaq Saidu, in an interview with aviation journalists over the weekend at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos said that the insecurity across the country made the proposal unfavourable and dangerous.
He also noted that if the proposal scaled through, several direct staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would lose their jobs, while thousands of indirect staff would also be affected, stressing that this negated the policy of the government to create more jobs for qualified Nigerians.
It would be recalled that concession of four airports; Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano in the first phase of the exercise were parts of the six-point agenda of Sirika in 2016, but it the industry unions severely kicked against the plan, fearing loss of jobs for its members.
“We are saying capital No! to the planned concession of our airports. This is simple, we have security challenges in the country and we can’t leave our security in the hands of individuals or private organizations that we don’t trust or know their backgrounds.
“Just recently, somebody beat the security to gain access to the aircraft at Lagos Airport. If the government concessions the major gateways, it will be a haven for drug peddlers, money launderers and importation of unapproved ammunition. We will be sitting on the keg of gunpowder.”
On the national carrier, Saidu canvassed limited shares for Federal and State governments, insisting that its modus operandi must be laid bare before the entire stakeholders in the industry.
He warned that the composition of a new national carrier in the mode of Nigeria Airways would fail, noting that investors – individual and core investors should take the lead in the planned airline.
The union, also raised the alarm over the existence of numerous airstrips in the country, warning that safety and security could not be guaranteed in some of them while warning government pointing out that numerous nefarious activities were ongoing in some of them.
In particular, Saidu queried the management of Osubi airstrip, wondering how the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) continued to provide navigational air services to the airstrip without the presence of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), especially officials of Aviation Security (AVSEC).
“For instance, Osubi airstrip is under a private company, which I think is dangerous for this country. Apart from this, there are lots of airstrips that are not known to many of us in this country. Osubi airstrip has been a challenge to this country and we must know who runs that airstrip.
“Why should NAMA provide navigational services to an airstrip that FAAN has no presence? External aggression can come from such airstrips,” he said.
He described Sirika as a “good man” who wanted the best for the industry, but warned him against the activities of “sycophants in the ministry.”