Reps halt concession of Nigerian Airports


By Abiodun OBA

Following a motion by Rep. Kama Nkemkanma titled “Need to Investigate the Concession of Airports in Nigeria”, on Wednesday at plenary, the House of Representatives has resolved to suspend the concession of airports in Nigeria.

Nkemkanma noted that the most viable airports in Nigeria were commissioned to foreign firms through resolutions by the Federal Executive Council resolutions deviating from due process, public accountability, and established laws of the land.

According to the lawmaker, the eventual outcome of the opaque concession exercise is the enrichment of a few unpatriotic Nigerians and their foreign cohorts at the detriment of Nigerians and the eventual enslavement of these public infrastructures to foreigners for many decades.

He recalled: “that our major airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano have remained consistent subjects of controversies due to entrenched personal interests that have undermined the laws of the land, irrespective of the occasional efforts of our anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission”.

“That the myopic personal interests of these economic vampires have relegated our so-called international airports to mere airstrip status after almost seven decades in the industry, and can never be compared with globally renowned airports such as Heathrow, Dubai, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Qatar, Vancouver, and others.

“Disturbed that even on the African continent, where one out of every six Africans is a Nigerian population-wise, the South African pairs of Tambo-Johannesburg and Cape Town, Cairo,

Casablanca-Morocco and Houari Boumediene in Algeria, have all outpaced Nigeria and we also lag behind South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopian Airlines;

Worried that our national historical public policy journey from indigenization, Commercialisation, Privatisation, Public partnerships, concessions, and others has fetched us nothing rather than monumental embarrassment, massive corruption, and controversies in the Aviation and other sectors;

“Disturbed that Nigerian population dominates the African Continent, with South African cities outperforming Nigerian owed, while Kenya and Ethiopian Airlines trail behind; Worried that the National public policy journey has led to embarrassment, corruption, and controversies in aviation and other sectors;

“Aware that the National Assembly Acts regulate, control, and manage corporations and agencies, including the Federal Airports Authority Act, Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act, Public Procurement Act, and Fiscal Responsibility Act”.

Rep. Nkemkanma states that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to control the economy, ensuring social justice, equality, and opportunity for citizens.

According to him, Nigerians are currently facing job loss and future generation’s economic hardship due to the airport concession policy.

“And that the constitutional oversight role of this House involves exposing corruption, inefficiency and waste in laws and correcting defects as per 1999 Constitution of Nigeria”, he added.

The House unanimously adopted the motion and mandated the House Committee on Aviation (when constituted) to investigate the Nigerian Airport concessions and report back to the house for further legislative action.

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