Halt Airports Concessions, House Directs Aviation Minister

  • Wants EFCC to investigate N120bn aviation intervention fund

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives has directed the Minister of State forAviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to halt the planned concession of four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.

This is as it called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged diversion of the 120 billion aviation intervention fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2012.

The House took the position following the adoption of the report of its Committee on Aviation on the Need to Rescue the Airline Industry from Imminent Collapse.

The report laid by the Committee Chairman, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia PDP), recommended a stay of action on the proposed concession of airports until the Minister has been able to brief the House and Nigerians on how the proposed concession will remedy the challenges facing the sector and benefit consumers.

Sirika would be expected to brief on his plans and programmes for the aviation sector, including the current status of the on-going remodeling of international airports, the reasons behind the scope and design of the remodeling and provide detailed drawings and specifications of the current design in order to enable the ascertainment of the actual cost of ongoing remodeling, compared to the loan received.

The House also adopted the recommendation to invite the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON and explain its plan of action to resuscitate Aero Contractors Airlines.

“Invite AMCON, management of Aero Contractors Airlines and leaders of labour union in the airline industry to discuss the continuation of the redundancy negations between Management of Aero Contractors Airlines and labour union leaders, which was suspended by AMCON’s refusal to finance the outcome of the negotiation,” the report read.
The committee urged that action be refrained on the concession agreement between Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney till the case is determined by the Supreme Court.

“Invite the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and airline operators (Domestic and International) to deliberate on the possibilities of CBN’s intervention in the crisis of foreign exchange for the airline industry…urge the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to as a matter of urgency make aviation fuel available regularly at affordable prices; and….also urge the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to make effort to refine aviation fuel locally,” the report read.