By Oladele Eniola
Lagos, May 25, 2023 Four aviation unions have condemned the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, to Corporacion American Airports Consortium without due process.
The unions are: National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP).
The NUATE Secretary General, Mr Ocheme Aba, made this known at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos, with the theme: “Buyer Beware of Purported Concession of Airports”.
Aba said the unions brought the situation to the public domain to alert the incoming government to the underlying issues.
According to him, the unions remain committed to ensuring that the concession is carried out in ways that will ensure unwavering development in the aviation sector.
“The present exercise falls short acceptable limits and standards of airports concession by global best practices.
“On the foundation of the concession, the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace has no authority to do so.
“To begin with, the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace does not own neither does it run any airport in the country.
“By the dictates of the governing Act of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), ownership and management of all Federal Government airports are fully vested in the authority not the ministry.
“On the other hand, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) procedure document states, with respect to the agency that wishes to concession a facility that the public entity should have enabling authority to transfer its responsibility – enabling legislative and policy framework or an Administrative Order to that effect.
“By the combined import of the FAAN Act and the ICRC procedures manual, it is evidently manifest that the entire airports concession is based on an incurably faulty foundation,” he said.
According to him, the labour issues around the concession of airports were not resolved before the airports were concessioned to the American company.
The union scribe noted that the issues must be resolved before concession could be taken.
“FAAN workers are not airports-tied in their employments, all employees are considered as a whole unit.
“Concession of the four major airports away from FAAN will necessarily cause a cessation of the employment of all the staff involuntarily.
“As FAAN pension liability is unfunded, the federal government’s promise to provide this funding has to be actualised immediately.
“The pension liability is estimated to be about N120 billion. Before redundancy can be discussed, individual liabilities of staff and pensioners have to be determined through up-to-date actuarial valuation for 2022.”
Aba said the entirety of the airport concession programme of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace is facing legal action by their unions at the National Industrial Court, Lagos Jurisdiction.
He noted that proceeding with the concession was in contempt of the court.