Workers and pensioners of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria – FAAN, on Thursday, 10 November 2022, protested the planned demolition and movement of the headquarters to Abuja.
The workers alongside the pensioners also objected the move by the Federal Government to concession the airports without addressing the labour issues.
The FAAN unions which comprise Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; National Union of Air Transport Employees Association of Nigeria, and Aviation Professionals National Union of Pensioners, assembled at the Freedom Square to remonstrate against the government unfavourable policies about the planned concession and the demolition of FAAN’s headquarters.
The protesters displayed placards with inscriptions like, “If labour matter is not resolved, concession cannot take place; Demolition of aviation headquarters must be resisted; Government, give us our entitlement and take your airport,” among others.
Comrade Abbah Oheme, General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees Association of Nigeria, called on the Trade Union Congress (TUC), civil society organisations and all Nigerians to join efforts and rescue the aviation sector from the grips of few political lords and their cronies.
He said: “We call on Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC), the civil society organisations to mobilise all Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people to join our efforts to rescue our patrimony from the grasp of the power that be in the invitation industry.
“We call on FAAN staff and pensioners, indeed, the entire aviation workers to be ready to fight for our rights in defence of our genuine rights and to save our industry from ruination.
“We call on all patriotic Nigerians to join this once and for all battle to tell our elected leaders that our national assets do not belong to a group of fortunate leaders in government and their cronies for them to share and plunder, nor do they have power to act as a bailiff over national interests without our consent.”
He added that Nigerian government had invested heavily in the aviation industry which ought to be for the benefits of Nigerians.
According to him, the flagship projects was supposed to act as consummation owing to the substantial investments that government had made in upgrading airport facilities.
“Ordinary, the attainment of the flagship projects ought to act as consummation of the benefits of substantial investments made by government in the facility upgrade of the agency but activities around the implementation of the roadmap ought to suggest that a ploy is approved to deny Nigerians of this labour and natural endowment or to divert such to private ends.
“Nothing evidencing this more than the fact that key decisions and actions around the projects are taken outside the statutory organ of the ICRC.
“The project delivery team in which our unions are represented, for example. Such important, questionable actions include appointment of transactions advisers and the approval of business indices for all the projects.
“But the purpose of today’s meeting. Our focus shall be on airport concession. Of all the projects inside the aviation roadmap, our union has been most focal over airport concession.
“This will not be surprising considering the potential negative impacts on large staff and pensioners of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (that is the agency undertaking the concession) right from start,” he said.