Several aviation unions in the airport on Monday embarked on a protest over the federal government’s planned concession of Nigerian airports.
The unions are Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, National Union of Air Transport Employee, NUATE, Association of Aviation Professionals, ANAP, and Nigerian Union of Pensioners, NUP.
The strike is also against Aviation minister Hadi Sirika’s handling of the concession of some of the country’s major airports without carrying the aviation workers unions along. The unions are also protesting that some of their colleagues who were disengaged from service have not been paid their retirement and pension.
The protesters displayed placards such as ” Concession of Airports lacks Transparency”. Others had ” Pay our Pension now “, ” Resolve MMA2 Concession Problem now ” and other inscriptions.
The protest caused heavy traffic gridlock within the airport, with passengers trekking long distances.
In a related development, staff members of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also protested the planned concession at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) in Kano. The protesters in Kano also kicked against the FG’s plan to move all retirees that retired before April 1, 2014, to PENCOM-the nation’s pension commission.
The Chairman of the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria’s (ATSSSAN), Hassan Aliyu while speaking during the protest noted that the Federal Government’s concession plan will be detrimental to many staff as they might be forcefully retrenched, adding that even the future of retired staff members will not be guaranteed under the concession plan.
Aliyu pointed to the concession of both the Mortal Muhammad Airport (MM2) in Lagos and the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) as two concession activities that did not help staff members and retirees of both agencies.
Sources noted that domestic flights were not deterred by the protests largely described as peaceful as travellers were observed boarding planes with no hitch.
In Ibadan, airport staff took the streets of the city to protest, carrying various placards with different inscriptions to register their displeasure at the planned concession by the Federal Government.
The Chairman of ATSSSAN, Oyewole Olayade spoke on behalf of the protesting unions in Ibadan. He said, “Federal Government claimed that the airports are underdeveloped and cannot continue to fund them again.
“Government now believes that it should invite private investors to come forward to invest so that there will be fund to develop the facilities.
“Our stand has always been transparency. As critical stakeholders, we are supposed to be carried along in whatever government wants to do concerning concession.
“These four major airports generate the bulk of our revenues,’’ He concluded.