- Alleges minister driven by ‘self’ not national interest
FOUR aviation unions have described the handing of a Certificate of Compliance by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika on the ongoing concession as a ruse; questioning how he got the certificate when no one but himself knows what is being concessioned.
This is just as the unions have said that they will make the airspace ungovernable if the minister continues with what they described as the self-serving ruse promising nationwide protests against the concessions that will last as long as the idea to concession Nigerian airports remains alive.
The unions including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals ( ANAP) and AUCPTRE in a joint press briefing, accused the minister of serving his self interest without referencing the committee and accused him further of not having a governing board so he can do whatever he likes and get away with it.
Speaking on their behalf at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Comrade Ocheme Aba, the General Secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) earlier today, told journalists that Minister of Aviation completely sidestepped the team and has gone ahead with his own programs as determined by himself alone.
Minister of Aviation last Thursday (25th June, 2020) 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 claim that there needs to be a transactional scope so the country knows what the minister has complied with and what the scope of the concession will be but till date there is no scope from the transaction adviser so how did the ICRC hand 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 have to review its membership of the PDT if this type of public deceit and shenanigan continue.
Aba further pointed out that with the new Chinese funded terminal already a concession, will the Minister further concession it when the debt of building that airport is on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and so begs the question how will it pay the loans when its being stripped of its cash cows through concession.
The unions further said that the fact 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 further accused him of usurping the responsibilities and powers of the governing board stressing that little wonder he refused to constitute it, so he will not be held accountable for his actions, which they insist are illegal
“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.”
They further provided credible alternatives against the perceived misguided contraption of concession including: Green Field concession, corporatization of FAAN, Complete autonomy of FAAN without the usual political meddlesome-ness.
On the nationwide 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. The concession of Nigerian airports in the opaque manner prescribed by the Honorable Minister of Aviation must be denied daylight so as to suffer perpetual darkness.
“We shall soon publish our itinerary of public nationwide protests against this unsavory machination. These protests shall last as long as the idea to concession Nigerian airports remains alive. In furtherance of the objective, we have sought the support of the NLC, TUC and ULC for the purpose of escalating the processes of engagement and protests. Never again, with the unfortunate mistake of selling of national assets to government officials and their cronies as happened in the electricity sector, shall we allow such to happen in Nigeria. Never again!”