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Aviation workers sue FG, ask court to stop airport concession

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Federal Airports Authority Of Nigeria (FAAN) have been dragged before an industrial court over plans to concession four major airports in the country.

In the suit marked NICN/LA/68/2023 and filed on Thursday, four aviation workers unions are seeking to stop the concession of Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers; Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The plaintiffs are the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union Of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association Of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and Nigeria Union Of Pensioners (NUB- FAAN BRANCH).

They unions argued that the minister and FAAN were not competent to concession the various airports without the consent and authority of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments, and the 774 Local government councils in Nigeria.

In their statement of facts, the unions stated that the airports concerned require no further investments for the envisaged period of the concession.

“The scope of the concession to the surroundings of the terminals, up to FAAN housing estates did not take the assets valuation into account. The proposed concession has not considered the very serious implication of handing such important national security assets over to foreigners. The concession is being undertaken by the ministry of aviation, and not by the 2nd defendant (FAAN) which negates the Concession Act,” the unions said.

They also claimed that the defendants arbitrarily fixed the profit-sharing ratio (60:40) in favour of the potential concessionaires.

“The proposed concession of the nation’s international airports has failed to address the payment of severance benefits to members of the claimants along with pension arrears owed former and present staff of the agency currently estimated at over N150 billion.

“The defendants have decided to determine the employment of the claimants in utter breach of the federal airports’ authority’s reviewed conditions of service, 2021 made pursuant to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act.

“In order to resolve the dispute concerning the proposed concession of the four international airports, the claimants have held several meetings with the defendants but the meetings did not achieve any result due to the recalcitrant attitude of the defendants,” the plaintiffs further stated.

Asides seeking to stop the planned concession, the plaintiffs are also praying the court for an order of injunction restraining the defendants from determining the employment of their members without complying with the provisions of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (CAP F5) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Reviewed Conditions of Service 2021 “in any manner whatsoever and howsoever”.

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