Vehicular movements and other activities were temporarily paralysed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Wednesday, following a peaceful protest staged by the aviation unions against the planned concession of four international airports across the country.
The airports slated for concession according to the Federal Government are: Murtala Muhammed Airports (MMA), Lagos, Port Harcourt Airport, Aminu Kano Airport (AKA) and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAA), Abuja Airports.
The protest, though peaceful, grounded vehicular movements into the Lagos Airport, with commuters trekking long distance to catch their flights.
As early as 7.30 am, no fewer than 1,000 unions and workers in the sector, participated in the rally, which kicked off at the Freedom Square of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and spread to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
The unions vowed that if the government went ahead with the planned concession of the airports, that it would ground activities in the sector, even as they alleged that government wanted to concession the airports to their cronies through third parties.
The unions carried various placards,saying ‘FAAN workers say no to concession, among several other placards, which were boldly displayed by the protesting workers and unions.
The unions, in a pamphlet distributed at the rally, said that airport concession was a threat to national security, adding that concession was aimed at killing other 17 airports in the country.
The protesting unions were guarded by the officials of the Nigerian Police and FAAN Aviation Security (AVSEC), so as to prevent violence.
One of the protesting workers, Mr Chris Adewale, said that rather than the government to concession the four most viable airports in the country, the government should concession the less viable airports and allow investors to develop them.
According to Adewale, FAAN’s staff in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders and professionals in the sector, ensured the viability of the four major airports, stressing government was not interested in the development of but the major ones in order to siphon revenues meant for the sector.
Also, a member of the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr Austin Ogwu, at the rally said that the government had made arrangements to sell the airports to Arab companies , “Our position is that we say no to concession and even, they are selling our assets to Arab nations. We all know what is happening in Arab nations today.