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Airport concession pits workers against govt - THE NATION

APRIL 22, 2019

by Kelvin Osa Okunbor

The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) at the weekend renewed its opposition to Federal Government’s plan   to concession four major airports in the country.

It said it will resist the move and has mapped out strategy to challenge the policy.

The four  airports marked for concession are (the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, Port-Harcourt International Airport and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano.

Its Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch Chairman, Ahmed Danjuma, said the policy does not offer the best option for the industry.

He said workers in the industry are unanimous in opposing the policy.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, late last year, unveiled the transaction advisers for the four international airports to be concessioned by the Federal Government.

He said the five firms are experienced and have expertise “in airport management, public private partnership legal advice, finance, project and construction management and environmental and social services. The unveiling of the transaction advisers clearly showed that government was forging ahead with the exercise.

Danjuma urged members of the union not to rest on their oars, adding that though the noise about the policy seemed to have reduced, the government was also re-strategising after the initial knocks received on the policy to achieve their goal.

He said: “For the fact that the noise of concession has suddenly reduced aside from the last two weeks that the vice president made a statement about the concession and another statement was made again about the concession, we should not relax that this government will not carry out that exercise.

“The only way we can prove to them that we can do it is by sitting up and doing our job the best way we can, so that we will not give room for anybody to come and challenge us that we have not done well.”

Danjuma explained that the union had engaged many stakeholders on the matter, several researches have been made and position papers developed to defend their stand against the concession policy.

“We have tried to develop our position paper as to why we say concession is not the best answer and we are not done with it yet, we are still collating and it is the responsibility of all of us not only the union leaders alone to drive that process. We need inputs from us, we need your support, we need your advises so that we will have a very good and comprehensive document whenever they call us to talk. We will now rely on those documents you give us and present to them.

“I am challenging all of us here to please go out, seek information, ideas on how best we can challenge the issue of concession. We have our own roadmap. We have plan B, C and even plan D, but we will not roll them out until we are sure government is serious on this matter.”

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