Pensioners Kick Against FG Planned Privatisation Of Four Airports
Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has opposed the planned privatisation of the four viable airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt by the Federal Government.
NUP stated that it was against national interest to concession the four viable airports, adding that the companies or persons the government will concession the terminals to could be hired or compromised to allow weapons into the country.
The pensioners made their position known in a statement jointly signed by the National Chairman of NUP, FAAN, branch Comrade Rasak Ope and the Administrative Secretary, Comrade Emeka Njoku and made available to journalists in Lagos.
The duo stated that previous attempts by governments to concession airport facilities in the aviation sector have not yielded the desired results, as the various concessioning processes have been bedeviled with controversies and court cases.
The pensioners contended that instead of concessioning the four airports, FAAN should be allowed to manage the existing airports without interference, adding that the last administration excluded FAAN from privatisation or concession based on security implications.
NUP called on the Federal Government to give priority to the unviable airport instead of privatising or concessioning of the viable airport terminals, advising the current Aviation Minister, Alhaji Hadi Sirika to focus his attention on the unviable airports.
According to the group airports across the world represent a lot of interests such as economic, social activities and international connections and that it also represent a cardinal posture of any country’s sovereignty, stressing that handing it over to individuals or group of people portended danger for the country.
To buttress their point, the pensioners cited attempts by the Federal Government to privatise some government entities such as Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN), Ajaokuta Steel, NITEL and the Nigeria Airways, which according to them were not successful.
The pensioner also reminded the Federal Government of the concession between FAAN and Maevis, which according to them did not end well.
According to NUP, “How can we give out our national heritage to individuals to operate, thereby undermining Nigeria sovereignty, losing sight of security implications, which is supposed to be paramount in every sphere of any nation. Therefore, airports should not be seen as buying and selling ventures, where profit should be the yardstick.”
They continued, “Airports represent public interest such as economic, social activities and international connections, from country to country and state to state. The person or company to handle these international airports could be hired or compromise to allow weapons into the country including people of in questionable characters in the world. These people can use this laxity to flock into the country and foment trouble which can lead to barrage deaths of citizens or unrest.”
The pensioner warned that the idea of concessioning the four airports should not come at a time when Nigeria is still battling with Book Haram insurgency, agitation for the State of Biafra and militancy in the Niger Delta, adding that Nigeria should not open more doors for trouble all in the name of wanting to make airports viable.
The pensioners, said they would want to know, “Who will be responsible for the assets and liabilities of FAAN? If the Act establishing FAAN has been abrogated or amended by the National Assembly before such transformation take place?