House of Representatives has asked the federal government to suspend the planned concession of four major airports in the country, pending the resolution of all contentious issues stating that efforts by the parliament to reach a common ground with parties on the issue, have proven unsuccessful.
The chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, gave the directive, on Monday, at a meeting between the committee and officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation. While the House Committee on Aviation also admonished the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for failing to appear before the committee, said it had been receiving petitions against the move.
The airports slated for concession are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ( MMIA), NNAMDI Azikiwe International Airport ( NAIA), Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport ( MAKIA) and the Port Harcourt International Airport ( PHIA) Omagwa.
Nnaji explained that the suspension is imperative to avoid major industrial dispute in the aviation sector, which would not be in the overall interest of the country.
The lawmaker, who stated that the committee has received several petitions for and against the concession, said efforts by the parliament to interface with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and agencies under him, on the issue, have not been successful, as they have failed to attend all the meetings.
According to the lawmaker : “You will recall that in September or thereabout, this committee had interactions with the representatives of the labour unions in this matter. During the meeting, which was sequel to our earlier intervention over the unions’ strike action against the concession, a lot of concerns were raised by the representatives of the labour unions regarding the airports concession.
“Among the concerns were the lack of transparency in the exercise, labour issues, the Chinese loans, the legal issues that mat arise from the existing concessions and the lack of proper valuation of the present status of the affected airports among others,” he stated.
“Based on the outcome of the meeting with the labour unions, the committee invited the Minister of Aviation and the heads of agencies under him to discuss the issue of the airports’ concession. Several dates were fixed for the meeting but for one reason or the other, they failed to attend.
“In view of this, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation hereby requests that the concession of the four airports should be put on hold pending the resolution of the contentious issues raised by the unions and other stakeholders to avoid industrial actions that may further cripple the already distressed industry.”