Despite government overtures for all stakeholders to allow it concession the six major airports in Nigeria, pensioners of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have said they were mobilising both the workers and organised labour to resist the directive.
To that effect, the retirees said they were standing against the move based on the fact that an outstanding sum of about N70 billion is yet to be paid as pension and gratuity to most of them, adding that the government wants to subject them to similar hardship, which former Nigeria Airways staff passed through when the national carrier was sold.
In a statement issued yesterday by the pensioners and signed by Rasaki Ope and Emeka Njoku, Chairman and Secretary of the body respectively, they stated that the situation is worsened by government refusal to consider viable alternative to concessioning, as offered by experts.
Some issues they claimed were not being put in proper perspective by those for the sale of the airports, they argued, include thesecurity of the nation, adding that a country’s Airports are not built to make profits but to link it with other countries in the world.
“At present, the Chinese are still constructing and expanding international airports, which the Honourable Minister wants to concession to foreigners. This is a clear case of colonisation,” the statement said.
The pensioners noted: “We want to posit that, these four viable airports are being managed by Nigeria over the years and it was graded category A and not managed by foreigners.”
They further stated that a foreign airline, KLM, was once brought in some years ago to manage Nigeria Airways; they left the airline worse than they met it without putting any meaningful structure in place, a situation that led to eventual sale of the national airline.
But Minster of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, argues that government does not wish to privatise the airports but to allow private investors so that they can inject money to develop and modernise them for a given period of time and after that they revert back to government.
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