Hadi Sirika


The Federal Government on Tuesday said it had approved the concession of Kano and Port Harcourt airports, as well as transaction advisers for the process.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this while speaking on the certification of Nigerian airports at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

On September 11, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the Federal Executive Council had approved the concession of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

Osinbajo did not mention the Kano and Port Harcourt airports.

But Sirika, while commenting on the latest certification of the MMA by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, noted that FEC had also approved the concession of both Kano and Port Harcourt airports.

He said, “President (Muhammadu) Buhari has approved that the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports be under concession.

“The Federal Executive Council has also approved it as well. FEC has also approved transaction advisers for the airports and they will start the process soon.”

On the recent certification of the MMA by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Sirika described the feat as noble, adding that the Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kaduna airports were the next in line.

According to him, the benefits of an NCAA-certified airport cannot be overemphasised, as he noted that no airport had ever been certified in Nigeria in the past by the authority.

Sirika explained that with the certification, the government would be able to value the airport and know how to relate with its concessionaire when the facility is eventually given out in concession.

He said the certification showed that the airport could now be described as air safety compliant, adding that passengers would start enjoying the gains of an NCAA-certified MMA in no distant time, as this might lead to a reduction in the cost of flight tickets in the near future.

Meanwhile, workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Tuesday morning disrupted activities at the MMA to protest against the proposed concession of the Lagos and Abuja airports.

The protest was led by the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Union of Pensioners and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.

The unions and workers of FAAN disapproved of the plans by the government to concession both airports.

The workers who stormed the Freedom Square leading to the entrance to the FAAN headquarters in their hundreds as early as 8am, described the planned concession as an illegal act of selling off of the airports to people who were unknown to them.

The General Secretary, NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye, stated that the unions would continue to mobilise and frustrate the government’s plan to concession the airports without discussing with them.

He said, “The government needs to engage the unions before it can consider the concession of the airports and tackle the issues that will arise from the concession, including job losses, which should be properly looked into.

“The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, must also demonstrate transparency on the concession of these airports. FAAN already has 64 legal cases over concession that have not been resolved, yet the government wants to go ahead to concession the airports.”

The National President, ATSSSAN, Mr. Illitrus Ahmadu, said the workers were opposed to the concession of airports because the process was not clear to them.

“We will use every instrument at our disposal to battle the government and frustrate the concession of the airports,” he said.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, scores of aviation workers on Tuesday also protested against the planned concession of some airports by the government.