NLC Threatens To Shut Down Flight Operations Over Plan To Concession Airports

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it will mobilise members to shut down operations at all airports across the country against the plan by the Federal Government to concession four major facilities.

The union made stated the position following a nationwide peaceful protest by Aviation sector workers on Monday against the plan.

The affected airports are Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, and Port Harcourt International Airport.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said labour and trade unions would soon choose a date to totally shut down airport operations across the country against the “obnoxious concession” plan.

Wabba accused those in power of pushing to concession the airports to their close friends despite the fact that they were viable business outfits.

He said, “this obnoxious concession policy will definitely affect our families negatively.

“The planned concession is driven by greed and elite politicians to get profit. How can you say you want privatise an establishment that is already capable of depending on its own?

“Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt airports are already viable, so for what reasons do you want privatise them when they are already viable?

“If you really wish to make them more efficient, do that by bringing competent hands. But don’t privatise it because of how much you are going to gain personally.

“So, NLC is saying no to such an attempt, we will not allow you to take our assets.”

The NLC president added: ” I’m aware that Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, alone has the capacity to service the whole Nigerian airports.

“So, let the people in power put facts on the table, we must engage them as they don’t want to hear this.

“By the grace of God we would win this struggle, therefore don’t be intimidated.”

Wabba said “With this planned concession, workers that have worked for 30 years won’t get pension or gratuity at the end of the day.”

The protest was organised under the auspices of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Union of Air Transport Employee (NUATE).

In the protest which took place in 22 airports across the country, the workers displayed placards highlighting their anger.

The protest at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, was led by Comrade Sama’ila Muhammad Alkali, the local Chairman of ATSSSAN.

Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Airport concession lacks transparency,” “Nigerians rise against siege on our common patrimony,” “Job loss looms in the aviation industry” and “FAAN pay our pension liabilities.”

Others read: “Our airports are undervalued,” “Federal Government, please resolve MM2 concession,” “Airport concessioning, a threat to the aviation industry,” “Chinese loan repayment threatened by concession” and “selective concessioning, ploy to destroy FAAN.”

The Chairman of ATSSSAN at Ibadan Airport, Mr Oyewole Olayade, said the workers were convinced that the Federal Government was not transparent in the process of the concession.

“These four major airports generate the bulk of our revenues,’’ Olayade said.

Reported by Muhammed Sani Uba

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