• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Senate urges probe of Abuja, Kano Airports concession

Reps probe alleged $72 million diversion, summons AGIP, NNPC, others

The Senate on Thursday challenged the yet-to-be-constituted Committee on Aviation to probe and conduct a comprehensive investigation into Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and other airports, concessioned by the previous administration.

The resolution was reached after the Senate deliberated on a motion titled “Urgent need to reverse the concession of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano,” which was presented by Kawu Suleiman (NNPP – Kano South).

In his lead debate, Kawu said the Federal Executive Council, on May 17, 2023, approved the concessioning of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano for 30 years, to Messrs Corporación America Airports Consortium.

The lawmaker maintained that the federal aviation ministry (and Aerospace) do not own, or run any airport in Nigeria and that by the dictates of the governing Act of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), ownership and management of all federal government airports were fully vested in the authority.

The lawmaker also noted that the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) procedure document states, with respect to the agency that wishes to concession a facility that, “The public entity should have enabling authority to transfer its responsibility – enabling legislative and policy framework or an administrative order to that effect.

“Reflects that from the combined import of the FAAN Act and the ICRC procedures manual, is an evident manifestation that the entire airports concession is based on an incurably faulty foundation.

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“For, there is no doubt that it is FAAN, not the ministry of aviation, that has power ‘to transfer its responsibility’ to a would-be concessionaire. It is also FAAN, not the ministry, which has the requisite legislative & policy framework’ for such;

“Convinced that if the claim that the FEC has approved the concessioning of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has any substance, then the FEC has indeed been misguided in its decision, and that action cannot amount to anything than a nullity;

“Worried about the rational in borrowing and spending public money to upgrade the airport only to hand it over to foreign businesses for a period of 30 years in the name of a concession;

“Alarmed that Nigeria is receiving a concession fees or upfront of $1.5m while the total amount of money that the Kano airport is accruing to government is $97.4m” he said

He said the aim was to gather essential information and provide the Senate with necessary recommendations and urged the Federal Government to, if need be, review the entire airport concession exercise and give a level playing field to all stakeholders.

Contributing, the Senate chief whip, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) bemoaned that some of the government agencies and officials that did the concession, took advantage of what he described as Buhari’s passiveness as a leader, to short-change Nigerians.

Other senators who contributed to the debate, condemned the manner in which the concession was hurriedly and unanimously approved by the last administration of Buhari.