May 19, 2024

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ICRC accused of colluding with Aviation Ministry to issue dud Certificate of Compliance

4 min read

LEFT: Mr Chidi Izuwah, DG, ICRC, Capt. Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister

The unions in Nigeria’s aviation sector of its national economy has thrown a challenge to the Infrastructure and Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, to show the world those facts, figures, equipment, machineries and all other critical preliminary due diligence conducted on the four airports it gave the aviation minister a certificate for complying with their business cases for concession.

Unions that challenged both the Aviation Minister, Capt. Hadi Sirika and the MD, ICRC, are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP, and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP.

The unions who were represented by their secretaries asked what were the parameters used in deciding that the four best airports in the country that does international flights should be the first to be concession while the remaining 18 airports would be systematically allowed to go to extinction.

The Secretary General of NUATE, Comrade Aba Ocheme, who was the spokesperson for the unions asked what would be the fate of the other 18 airports when the main roots that feed them are given to completely different corporate organizations to manage.

Ocheme said the union members were agitated because all the projects programs as itemized by Capt. Sirika since his first tenure to date, were never transparently executed though labour was co-pted on some, but none had input of team members constituted by the minister himself.

Comrade Ocheme Aba said the unions were astonished when the issuance of Certificate of Compliance rented the air because the purported Outline Business Case, OBC, was yet to be developed by the project team the minister constituted on the airports concession and even on the much touted national carrier.

Aba said a Project Delivery Team, PDT, was assemble to brainstorm and come up with an Outline Business Case, OBC, for each of the numerous projects the minister conceived by himself for execution by the ministry, for the good of air transport and benefit to the citizenry.

He explained that the PDT met mid last year, 2019, and were still trying to settle to their assigned task and what was heard was approval of about N2billion for consultant on Abuja airport and now issuance of certificate of compliance to the procedures to concession the four most profitable airports in Nigeria.

The Deputy General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Comrade Francis Akinjole, asked when and where did ICRC conducted stakeholders forum for it to be availed of critical information that could help it in its task but chosen to collude and abet in gross deception to the people of Nigeria.

He said the industry stakeholders were still looking forward to the PDT to meat and execute their mandate in determining among other things the transaction adviser, which had not been done to date and wondered if ICRC could provide the components of each of the airports to be concession and of which it had given a nod.

Akinjole advised the minister to return to the drawing board, so that the program could be legally delivered and would not bring reproach to the nation and misery to the workers who had toil for the sustainability of aviation in the country.

Comrade AbdulRazaq Seidu, Secretary General, ANAP, urged Nigerians to eschew the erroneous statement that government has no business in business. He said if Chinese government was truly running its businesses as they had been involved in airport construction, road construction, and railway construction here in Nigeria, people should purge themselves of the wrong notion.

Akinjole however said there were options government could explore to still achieve its aim of opening up the economy and make the aviation industry more virile, competitive and prosperous.

He said government could try the Greenfield option, where by investors would start airport construction from the beginning to the end and even start to operate such airport after procuring adequate licence from the regulatory authority for the service desired to render.  

Another alternative mentioned was granting of genuine autonomy to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN. He explained the airport managers would be given target to meet and would be allowed to operate without interference from both the executive and the legislative arms of government. While the third was the Public Private Partnership, PPP.

Comrade AbdulRazaq Seidu asked why have the board members appointed for the aviation agencies not sworn-in since about two years of announcement and clearance by Mr President?

The unions called on well meaning Nigerians to join hands with them in the crusade for the minister to be transparent in his dealings as the unions promised to employ all legal means in their disposal to ensure the Minister’s under handed deals does not see the light of day.

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