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Retirees warn minister over concession plan


Hadi Sirika, Minister of State, Aviation

Hadi Sirika, Minister of State, Aviation

In solidarity with unions in the aviation sector, former workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have warned the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to be wary of concessioning that will not address germane issues relevant to the growth of the sector.

FAAN Pensioners, as the group is called, are worried that such exercises in the past “have not served the interest of the country as expected.”

Besides, Chairman of the group, Rasak Ope, noted that the minister’s proposal to concession the four viable airports lacked any recourse to some vital issues that are of concern to all.

The issues, according to the group, include current management of the airports, choice of concessionaires and lingering gray areas around concession agreement on Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal.

Ope said that the minister must remember that “airports is not built to make profit but to link this nation with other countries in the world, therefore, it should be guided with all necessary machinery.”

He said if the minister feels that the present management is not competent, he should rather bring good hands to manage the airports instead of having it concessioned

“If he lacks appointment clue we can help him select competent hands. We want to posit that, Nigerians have been managing these four viable airports over the years and it was graded category A and not foreigners.

“Again, the union is asking this important question, why the Arab companies? We all know the antecedents of Arab states; where we find all types of people with questionable characters (we are afraid).”

Should the ministry insist on concession, the group called on the minister to ensure their blueprints are properly investigated.

The Chairman recalled, “KLM was brought in some years ago to manage Nigeria Airways; they left the airline worst than they met it without putting any meaningful structure in place.

“Also of note is the high level of incursion into the vast acres of land at MMIA with the connivance of people from the Aviation Ministry thereby stalling room for future expansion of the complex.

“The minister should rather focus his attention on the previous and some present officials and unofficial land grabbers who have bought acres of the airport land,” Ope said.

On Bi-Courtney Aviation Services and the Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal, Lagos, “it has been one court case or the other with the FAAN.”

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