By Patience Musa
The Federal Government says it has concessioned the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
According to the tweeter handle of the Presidency, @NGRPresident, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this known at the presidential quarterly business forum held at the State House, Abuja.
The tweet stated: “VP @ProfOsinbajo: I’m pleased to say the Fed Exec Council (FEC) has approved the concessioning of the Lagos & Abuja Airports #PQBForum”.
By this action, the federal government is to hand over the operations of the two major airports to private companies and investors who would handle the day-to-day activities and infrastructure of the airports.
The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2007 concessioned the terminal two of the Murtala Muhammed Airport to Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), in a public private partnership (PPP) initiative.
This deal signalled the first successful privately-funded Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (DBOT) airport terminal in Nigeria
The decision to concession the terminal emanated after an inferno that gutted the terminal and prompted the then government to invite private developers to rebuild it.
Controversy however trailed the process soon after the exit of the Obasanjo administration, as the concessioners and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) engaged in a running battle over the deal, leading to several court cases.
Government had expressed desire to concession four major airports in the country, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt for greater efficiency.
Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika who had hitherto hinted of government plans, had submitted that government could rake in about $50 billion from the process.
But aviation workers’ unions had vowed to frustrate the move as they said government was yet to meet the terms of agreement with FAAN employees before the MMA2 was concessioned to Bi-Courtney.
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