Airport concession: Unions accuse Sirika of desperation to foist hidden agenda on Nigerians

… Set for nationwide public protests

The aviation workers union have stated that the minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika’s response to their position on the proposed concession of the country’s four airports has further exposed the faulty grounds of the airports concession programme and the desperation to foist a hidden agenda on Nigeria and Nigerians.

The unions in a rejoinder to Senator Sirika’s response on their position that the proposed concession of the country’s four airports is a crime against Nigerian people and must be resisted frontally stated that the rejoinder did not speak to the alternative concession models and other approaches canvassed in their press conference.

The unions in a statement signed by the secretary general of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, comrade Ocheme Aba, deputy general  secretary, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association Nigeria  (ATSSSAN), Comrade Frances Akinjole; secretary general,    secretary general, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Abdu Razaq  Saidu, and comrade Emeka Njoku,
secretary general of the Nigerian Union of Penshioners, FAAN branch said the rejoinder gave the false impression that the unions are totally objectionable to concession of airports which is not true at all.

They pointed out that equally important is the loud silence over the issue of primacy of national security, especially at this time and the foreseeable future.

The union observed that the rejoinder failed to situate, within the national security architecture, the potential fact of the four foremost international gateways being held in private (most likely foreign) hands.

“Furthermore, there remains no clarity on the question of the semi-concession that already exists through the Chinese loan facility being utilised for ongoing new terminal buildings at the same four airports, including remodelling of the old terminals. There is yet to be any explanation on that.

“Based on the foregoing, it is obvious that the rejoinder in question did not help the Minister’s cause in justifying the airport’s concession project as presently conceived which we consider potentially damaging to national interest. To the contrary, the rejoinder further consolidated widely held view that this particular PPP does not serve any national cause, and its motive is not wholesome.

“We hasten, though, to let it be known that we are unambiguously strewn to the national cause and the genuine interest of the workers of FAAN. We are completely extricated from any narrow, or selfish motives.” the workers bodies said.

The bodies noted that they shall remain unwavering in their stated commitment to deny this clandestine PPP the benefit of daylight.

The unions publicly dissociated themselves from any notion of being against the concession of airports as being insinuated in some quarters, adding that this lie is defeated by the fact that they did offer an alternative concession model, along with alternative approaches in its earlier press conference.

The aviation bodies said they shall stand firm against any attempt to share the nation’s common patrimony in the guise of a phony concession exercise.

They enjoined all Nigerians who love their fatherland to join them as they prepare for nationwide public protests to be kicked off shortly in order to compel a rethink in a positive direction. There is no going back.

The unions concluded their statement that: “However, we welcome the Hon. Minister’s promise to engage with us on these issues, and we make ourselves available and look forward to such engagement soon enough. For, should it be that the Hon. Minister does have altruistic motive after all, and we are only mistaking his overzealousness for ill motive, then this statement represents a valuable chance for the Minister to step back a bit and take another look at his approach thus far. In that case his intended engagement with our unions may prove auspicious and useful indeed”.

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