NLC urges a halt on concession of airports to private sector

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    NLC President, Aruba Wabba

    THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to desist from further discussions on concession plans of major airports to private sector interests.

    In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba condemned the concession plans and stated that, “it was with great alarm that we learnt of the renewed efforts by the Federal Government to concession Nigeria’s major airports.

    “The airports are the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Port Harcourt International Airport to private sector interests.”

    He recalled that the current concession drive started from the military era to “deregulate and privatise critical national assets to their cronies and friends.”

    Wabba said, “we rejected concession of our core national assets yesterday. We are rejecting it today.”

    He said organized labour is calling for dialogue with government and warns against further discussions on concession of the airports.

    He noted that the “working class will resist any unilateral concession of our public airports and we will not surrender our public assets to a few well-connected Nigerians.”

    Wabba said that the unwholesome and unpatriotic attitude of giving away the country’s prized national property to private sector operatives was immoral.

    According to him, the government plan contravenes Chapter 2, Section 16 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Fundamental Objectives and the Directive Principles of State Policy.

    The section states that, “the Nigerian government must manage and operate the major sectors of the economy and ensure that our economy is not operated to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group.

    He said that it amounted to an insult to the collective intelligence of the Nigerians for the Federal Government to invest public funds into the rehabilitation of airports and hand them over to private sector players for profit maximisation.

    He added: “Our experience in the past had been that of massive layoff of workers once private sector players get the concession on national assets.

    “There is no compelling reason for the Federal Government to gift away our national airports to private companies to manage.

    “The failures of private sector intervention in our public electric and telephone services speak volumes of the inherent danger in using public assets to service private interests or massage the ego of those in the corridors of power.”

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