The Senate on Thursday passed legislation against the concession of Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano State and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The Senate’s resolve to probe the concession of the airports followed a motion by Senator Sumaila Kawu, representing Kano South.
Senator Kawu highlighted that a thorough analysis of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Act and the ICRC procedures manual revealed flaws in the foundation of the concession process.
He argued that the Federal Ministry of Aviation does not own or run any airport in Nigeria; instead, by the dictates of the governing Act of FAAN, ownership and management of all federal government airports are fully vested in FAAN.
Senator Kawu also noted that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on May 17th approved the concession of the Aminu Kano International Airport for 30 years to Messrs Corporation America Airports Consortium.
According to him, the FEC was misguided in its decision, and that action cannot amount to anything but a nullification.
The lawmaker stated that he is alarmed that Nigeria is receiving a concession fee upfront of $1.5 million while the total amount of money that the Kano airport is accruing to the government is $97.4 million.
As a result, the Senate agreed that the aviation committee, when constituted, should investigate the ministry and agencies concerned and report back to the Senate.
“Condemned in strong terms the concessions of Aminu Kano Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, and other airports that were conceded in the same way as they were not conceded in the public interest,” the Senate said.
Meanwhile, the Senate urged the federal government to review the entire exercise and give a level playing field to all stakeholders.
Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau, who chaired the plenary session, noted that concession was the best way to move forward as it was one of the best practises all over the world.
Barau stated that while concessions are good, they must be done in a transparent manner rather than in secrecy, as was done in the previous administration under former Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika.
“Concession is what is in vogue all over the world because the government is a bad manager of business, even the Heathrow airport was conceded to a Nigerian. And the airport is doing really well,” Barau said.
“Although these things must be investigated, I would still vote for concession, but it must be done in a transparent manner.”