The staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Monday protested against the federal government plan to concession four major Nigerian airports.
The federal government had announced its plan to run a public-private enterprise by giving out terminal buildings, toll gates, and non-aeronautic areas of the airports in Kano, Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt to private operators.
In Kano State, four of the FAAN’s unions protested at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, carrying placards.
Some of the placards read: “We say no to airport concession; yes to FAAN Pension Scheme. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
The National Union of Air Transport Employs (NUATE), the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Air Transports Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners unanimously rejected concession of the airports.
The Chairman of NUATE, Mohammed Zakaria, said concession of the airports will lead to massive job loss in the aviation industry for the majority, or all of the over 18 million FAAN staffers, while the future of those retrenched will remain uncertain. The protesters quickly recalled what happened to the staff of NEPA, Nigeria Airways, and NITEL when the establishments were privatised.
“We want to continue as FAAN. The government owns everything but we are saying no to concession,” he said and added that airports concession poses security threats as well as the loss of revenues to the government.
ANAP North East Chairman, Hassan Aliyu, suggested that there are a lot of virgin lands in several states, if the ‘investors’ want to build ‘first-class airports’ in the country, they should go there and invest.
The protesters also rejected the directive to move all staff who retired from April 1, 2014, to PenCom. They said FAAN has not remitted any money to PenCom. FAAN is owing it over N200 billion, if you move us to PenCom, where will it get the money to pay us? They should first arrange money on the ground; let every staff know their entitlements.
“We spent our time and energy to build the airports, the so-called investors cannot just come and take over the facilities and enrich themselves without involving the key stakeholders.
“The Outline Business Case (OBC) was prepared since 2017 and only made available this August after they have concluded every aspect of the deal. They are telling us lies,” Aliyu said.