By Daniels Ekugo
Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu, the General Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professional (ANAP), at the weekend dropped a bombshell that may threaten the aviation industry in Nigeria. He alleged that that the recent $500 million loan secured from China for the construction of new terminals in the country were mismanaged by government. Besides, he accused the Federal Government of handing over sensitive areas of the airports to private individuals, a situation that can compromise Nigerian airports.
Speaking with journalists at the Lagos Airport over the weekend, Saidu insisted that the fund in which Nigeria had a counterpart funding of $100 million was grossly mismanaged by those in government.
He recalled that the fund was secured for the construction of new terminals at Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports in 2013 with completion date of 24 months, but wondered why none of the airport was yet to be completed almost 48 months later.
Saidu observed that the original master plans for Lagos and Abuja Airports were distorted by the construction of the terminals, stressing that such distortion indicated lack of adequate planning by the government.
He said: “For example, the remodelling of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) and the loan they took from China was mismanaged. The original master plan of MMIA and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja were badly depleted.
“The depletion has seriously affected the control towers of both airports. What justification or right do they have? They ought to have followed the original master plan of both airports before the construction of any new terminals.”
He also lamented that most of the sensitive areas of the airports had been given out to individuals on political basis, stressing that this may one day affect security at the airport.
Saidu maintained that with the handing over of sensitive areas of the airports to individuals, security of the airports may be compromised one day, stressing that security at the nation’s airports is complicated.
“In addition, security is so much complicated that you don’t really know who to hold responsible when there is any breach of security at the airports. For example, there is a law, which authorises Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of FAAN to carry firearms. Can you tell me one person among AVSEC officials that bear arms or trained on how to handle rifle today?
“The other security agencies that have taken over everywhere have continuously been manipulating, beating and harassing officials of AVSEC. AVSEC of FAAN have been trained to maintain and enforce Aviation Security at the airports. So, this is one of the issues that bedevilled the industry in 2017,” he noted.
He also decried the stagnation of workers in various agencies in the sector and the imposition of political appointees by politicians, stressing that this had brought frustration and diminishing returns in productivity of experienced staff.