Ministers Keep Mum over Protest against Airport Concession


Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, both kept sealed lips on Tuesday over the protest staged by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) against government’s plan to concession four major airports by the federal government.

In a protest march at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, the Chairman of the NUATE, Abuja branch, Mr. Lanre Popoola, said government should concentrate on developing the airports that have low capacity utilization of their facilities.

Text messages sent to both ministers met with deaf ears, as none of them responded on the enquiries made about the protest. Also, their lines could also not be reached even after several hours of attempts.

However, speaking to THISDAY under anonymity, a top official of the ministry hinted that Sirika was presently out of the country, adding that at the appropriate time, the Permanent Secretary would respond.

According to the NUATE Chairman, Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports remain the country’s vibrant assets and therefore should not be sold out to private sector players.

He said: “We are not saying they should not concession airports; they should go to dormant airports like Minna, Gombe, Akure and Katsina that are not vibrant.

“Abuja airport, the Lagos airport, the four vibrant airports are the heritage of our nation. We are not going to allow some contractors, all in disguise of being a minister to come and sell our heritage.”