The possibility of Nigeria achieving its planned concession of five major airports may have to wait longer than the 2017 earlier proposed.
Indications to this effect came after the Senate committee on Aviation was unable to reach a consensus at the end of its public sitting last week where stakeholders on the issue defended their positions.
The situation is not helped by the submission by Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to the committee that the 2002 concession of the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, phase 2 (MMA2) was fraud prone.
Sirika said the current attempt to hand over the airports in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Kaduna to private sector operators would rake in about $50 billion to government.
But a legal practitioner, Mrs. Gladys Ekpomona, representing the aviation workers’ unions said the government was yet to meet the terms of agreement with FAAN employees before the MMA2 was concessioned to Bi-Courtney.
The firm had been in a legal log jam with the government, in which it is claiming N500 billion damages for government revoking some aspects of the deal.
However, a close source said the recent query by the Presidency over some related issues on the concession, coupled with the different positions held by members of the Senate committee on the issue may likely put the exercise on indefinite suspension.
But the workers are insisting that more than 600 employees of FAAN already sacked in preparation for the concession be reinstated, pending resolution of contending issues.
There is also fear being entertained that the concession would not take place until there is evidence of expansion of the runways of three of the airports billed for concession, in line with the international laws guiding handing over of management, or transfer of ownership of airports for international flights to a third party.
By Emma Eke….
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