Aviation workers protest concession of Nigerian airports

Trade unions in the aviation sector on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos over the proposed concession of the four major airports in the country. The protest was organised by the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP).

The Federal Government had indicated its interest to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports to increase their capacity and efficiency.

The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “Don’t Sell Our Future”, “Don’t Concession Our Airports” and “FAAN Should Not Be Killed”, urging the government to reconsider its decision.

Numbering over 1,000, the protesters were guarded by airport security officials and the police to prevent breakdown of law and order, and to ensure free flow of traffic for motorists.

The unions, in leaflets distributed at the protest, said airports concession was a threat to national security.

They argued that the concession would kill the 17 local airports which were tantamount to “economic terrorism”.

The unions also urged the government to review all FAAN’s existing concession agreements, especially that of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and Avitech.

Recently, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, met with the unions to assure them that the concession of the airports would not lead to job losses.

Sirika said the government’s resolve to concession the airports was aimed at ensuring the establishment and sustenance of world-class standards in infrastructure development and service delivery.

He assured the unions that concession was not tantamount to privatisation or outright sale.

According to him, the facilities being concessioned remain the properties of Nigeria and FAAN.

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