MEMBERS of the newly registered aviation union, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) have faulted the previous concession arrangements done in the aviation sector, stressing that a large chunk of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) revenue has been concessioned out illegally.This is just as the group challenged the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to ask questions and look into the issue of those concessions as seen in the toll gates, car parks, fuel surcharge among others.
ANAP Secretary General, Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu said, “We want to know what has become of the former concessionaires because as at today, 90% of revenue points of FAAN has been concessioned out. For example, when we have the commercial department of FAAN; what brought about the concessionaire of bill boards across the nation’s airport of N800m and now down to N700m? Who concessioned out the toll gates, car parks, fuel surcharge? These are things they have been hiding from people and we want government to visit that area. We are interested because past experience showed that there is conspiracy within FAAN and outside to divert the money of these concessionaires”.
Speaking further, Saidu queried why government should be interested in four major viable airports in the country instead going to the hinterlands and develop the ones there just as he pointed out that the agreements have not been favourable.
“So that is why we are against any form of concession and that is why we are against concession. The minister of State Aviation must ask questions and look into the issue of those concessions. When they say airlines are owing, they will opt for reconciliations. What has been the outcome of their reconciliation? Have they been paying, is it not a conspiracy between some set of people in FAAN and airlines. That is the issue. It is a fundamental question because in Calabar there was concession and after nine months, the concessionaire ran away with the proceeds. Same thing happened to the toll gates. We use to have Task Force members to monitor these people and money was coming in hundreds of millions of naira, what was the rationale of not using workers of the organization, when money was coming in, only to give it to people who they ask to pay N50 million to N60 million”, Saidu added.
On the immediate impact the union wants to make in the sector, Saidu said “We have two issues in the sense that we want to professionalize the industry so that there will put round peg in a round hole. The changes that were made in NAMA is not complete and it ought to go round the parastatals across the industry. We have seen and welcomed that of FAAN, though, it is not complete yet, because they must revert to the operational structure in line with the Act that originally established it. This is because they have over bloated staff from outside to squander money, placing them above people that have been working over the years to collect money. So we welcome the step taken in FAAN and want it to be extended to NCAA, NAMA and other agencies where such wrongful placements were carried out in line with the Act establishing them.
While calling for the scrapping of all Directorates not set up by FAAN Act of establishment Saidu maintained that ANAP target is to engage the federal Government through constructive dialogue with the federal government on the state of affairs in the aviation sector and what we will like the government to do in order to move the industry forward.
Lamenting further, the ANAP secretary said another reason why the union would continue to kick against concession is because airport is a security toll gate of any nation, just as he noted that “everything is almost concessioned into their pockets because the concessionaires are not paying into FAAN. In Abuja and Lagos they did the same thing and nobody is being punished. They are just misleading the president. The professionals will not support it. Job seekers and praise singers are deceiving the minister and we will have audience with him and tell him the truth. We have enough technical capability to maintain facilities through direct labour in aviation in this country”.
Saidu who informed that ANAP has a membership strength of 4,000 said “Staff interest is not taken likely and that is why on the formation of ANAP, we now resolved that primarily our focus will be ensuing that aviation facilities of standards, ensuring that the managements in the aviation sector take working materials and instruments seriously. We want to ensure the rights of the workers are not trampled upon. These are some of the areas we want to improve upon and impart on our union. There is the need to safeguard the aviation workers. The law is there to protect workers and we will follow those laws.
Expressing excitement for the successful registration of ANAP after eleven years of waiting, Saidu said that the union wants to achieve the reason for the formation of this union because if you look at other ones they have issues.