The aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are facing a lawsuit from 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) over the proposed concession of four major airports in the country.
In a suit filed before an industrial court on Thursday with the reference NICN/LA/68/2023, the plaintiffs are seeking to halt the concession of Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers state, Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos state, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The claimants argue that the aviation minister and FAAN do not have the competence to concession the airports without the consent and authority of the federal government, the 36 state governments, and the 774 Local government councils in Nigeria. The unions also claim that the terminals require no further investment for the intended concession period and that the scope of the concession did not consider asset valuation.
The claimants also express concern about handing national security assets over to foreigners and argue that the concession is being undertaken by the ministry of aviation, rather than FAAN, which violates the Concession Act. Additionally, they claim that the profit-sharing ratio (60:40) in favor of the concessionaire was arbitrarily fixed and that the concession has failed to address the payment of severance benefits and pension arrears owed to former and current staff of the agency, which is estimated to be over N150 billion. The claimants also allege that the defendants have violated the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act in determining the employment of the claimants.
The claimants are seeking an order to stop the planned concession and an injunction restraining the defendants from determining the employment of the claimants 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. The claimants have held several meetings with the defendants, but the meetings did not achieve any result due to the defendants’ recalcitrant attitude.
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