Nationwide strike by aviation labour unions  looms over planned concession of four international airports.

Chinazor Megbolu

An amalgamation of aviation unions had concluded plans to embark on strike action over plans by the Federal Government to concession the nation’s airports.

The unions, at a press conference in Lagos, hinted they are embarking on a nationwide protest against the planned concession of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Port  International Airport, Omagwa and Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja.
The unions namely; Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, (ANAP), National Union of Transport Employees, (NUATE) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch said the protests would last as long as the idea of the concession of Nigerian airports is not dropped.
The unions revealed further that if the idea of concession was not dropped, they are seeking the support of its National bodies, the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), United Labour Congress, (ULC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC), to make it a reality.
The unions, however, alleged that everything that had to do with the issue of concession was being single-handedly decided by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika without being carried along.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General, NUATE Comrade Aba Ocheme noted that the action taken by the Minister had completely usurped the functions of the Management and the Governing Board of the Authority, which the Minister failed to inaugurate.
He reiterated that the recent presentation of certificate of compliance by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC) to the Minister was a shock to the unions as they have not been carried along as members of the project delivery team.
Furthermore, he posited that the decision to concession  four out of the 22 airports was not done in good fate.
Aba maintained that the proposed airports for concession were the life wire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), as the rest of the airports were dependent on the four  airports for sustenance.
According to him; “as a matter of fact, without the four, the other airports will die automatically. Therefore, to concession these four airports is to close up FAAN completely.
“Considering the basis of creating these other airports, which is the public interest of opening up the entire country, even nationwide development, and national unity, one would wonder the rationale behind the idea of sacrificing these undeniably noble goals on the altar of a superficial notion of private investment.”
The Secretary -General of ANAP, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu said, they are compelled to act so in recognition of their corporate citizenship and  sacred responsibility to the general public and fellow Nigerians towards safeguarding their common patrimony.

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