Workers’ unions of the Nigerian Aviation industry on Tuesday embarked on massive rally to protest the planned concession of the four major airports in the country to private investors by the Federal Government.
According to TheNews, members of the different aviation unions were seen in Abuja armed with placards of different inscriptions on it, demonstrating their opposition to the planned concession.
The Aviation unions began their protest from the Nnamdi Azikwe Internal Airport tollgate to other parts of the expansive airport. They stopped intermittently to pray against the success of the concession during the procession which was however very peaceful.
The workers did not disrupt flight operations during the procession which was confined to the Airport.
An official of National Union of Air Transport Employees, Lanre Popoola told newsmen that the peaceful protest was organised to send a message to the President that the aviation unions will not support the planned concession of the four major airports.
“We are trying to send a message to the President that our four airports purported to be concessioned are no go areas. They should go and concession airports like Minna airport.
“You can imagine a state like Niger State having two airports, they have what is called old airport and new airport. They should go to Gombe and concession Gombe Airport, they should go to Akure and concession Akure Airport. We don’t have issues with those ones.
“Why would the Federal Government want to concession an Airport that serves as heritage of the nation? We are saying no to concession of our four airports, that’s why we are on the streets now.”
He added that similar protests are being held by workers in the other airports slated for concession and that the workers were opposed to the planned privatisation because the outcome of similar exercise in the industry have been negative.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had last week said that the Federal Government has concluded arrangement to appoint a Transaction Adviser for the concession of the big four airports in the country.
The planned concession was to be carried out on the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos; Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State.
He said government would go ahead with the concession of the airports through Public Private Partnership, adding that the asset will ultimately come back to the Nigerian people.