Controversy over concession of airports as stakeholders make case for Nigerian companies | Dailytrust

Controversy over concession of airports as stakeholders make case for Nigerian companies

 Murtala Mohammed International Airport
Murtala Mohammed International Airport

The federal government has been warned against handing over the four international airports slated for concession to foreign companies “as such move can compromise” the nation’s security.

The Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and the Port Harcourt International Airport are the four airports earmarked for concession.

The government recently closed bidding for the airports with a plan to announce new concessionaires soon. The concession is billed to run for 20 to 30 years via a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.

The Minister of Aviation, Capt Hadi Sirika, hinted that some foreign companies had submitted bids.

However, some experts in the aviation industry are arguing that the architecture and operations of airports should be handled by nationals who had the security interest of the country at heart.

An engineer with the defunct Nigeria Airways, Mustapha Bello, who said Nigeria should learn from the experience of Uganda during the reign of the Field Marshal Idi Amin, stressed that security and national interest should be the first consideration when handling national assets.

“Since there are some Nigerian companies which have successfully operated airport terminals, like Bi-Courtney Aviation Services which is currently running Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2, MMA2, Lagos, they should be considered first,” he said.

On his part, a chief executive officer of an aviation company based in Lagos said indigenisation of national assets was very important in order to create jobs for the teeming population and prevent capital flight.

The chamber of human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, recently wrote to Sirika, alleging that three of the foreign bidders for the four airports violated the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act 2005 and the National Policy on Public-Private Partnership (N4P).

It asked the minister to disqualify the three companies on the ground that they belong to the same interest.

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