CISLAC calls For Reversal Of Abuja, Kano Airports’ Concession

By Gidado Shuaib
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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called for the immediate reversal of the concessioning of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

The Executive Director of CISLAC, Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, in a statement on Wednesday, noted that signing of the concession agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari was not done in public interest.

Mr Rafsanjani, therefore, called on the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to cancel the agreement on his first day in office.

He said: "It is worrisome that the Federal Government led by Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has concession two of our critical airports to Messrs Corporación America Airports Consortium. And, in the consortium, they have Messrs Mota-Engil Africa and MSSRS Mota-Engil Nigeria. The PPP is for 20 years for Abuja and 30 years for Kano.

“Why borrow and spend public money to upgrade the airports only to hand them over to private concerns in the name of a concession?,” the centre quizzed.

"It is not only alarming to see that these airports would be kept in the hands of foreign businesses in a cumulative period of 50 years, it is also disheartening to understand that the total amount of money that this airport is accruing to government is $700m for Abuja and then $97.4m for Kano.

“Put together, it is about $800m and Nigeria is receiving a concession fees or upfront of less than $10m, that is, only $7m for Abuja and $1.5m to be given for Kano.

"This concession is clearly dubious and raises a lot of questions on the process and what the actors stand to gain.

"It will be recalled that unions in the aviation industry embarked on a strike to question the integrity of the concession exercise.

“Thus, the concession by this government at this time raises fundamental questions of injustice and an elephant project against the public interest and also concerns of why the concessions at all at end of the administration.”

Mr Rafsanjani lamented that the country’s legislature was sound asleep when the concession took place, stressing that legislative oversight remains an important mechanism for accountability and transparency.

“Should the National Assembly oversight finds fault in this concession one day, the Federal Government will be in trouble, especially the array of lawsuits that would be slapped on the face of the government,” Mr Rafsanjani warned.