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Senate to probe Buhari’s concession of airports


The Senate on Thursday said that it would probe the concession of Mallam Aminu International Airport, Kano and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and other airports across the country.

The  Senate said the probe would commence when the Committee on Aviation is constituted.

The Senate’s resolution was a sequel to a motion moved by Sen. Kawu Sumaila (NNPP-Kano) during Thursday’s plenary.

The motion was tagged “Urgent Need to Reverse the Concession of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.”

Other resolutions by the upper chamber included urging the Federal Government to, if need be, review the entire exercise and give a level playing field to all stakeholders.

It also condemned, in strong terms, the concession of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja few days before the expiration of Buhari’s administration, stressing that it was not done in the public interest.

Moving the motion, Sumaila said that the Federal Executive Council, on May 17, approved the concession of the Kano airport for 30 years to Messrs Corporación America Airports Consortium.

He also said that the Federal Ministry of Aviation does 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 are fully vested in the Authority.”

Senator Sulaiman said that if the claim that FEC had approved the concession of Kano Airport has any substance, then the FEC has indeed been misguided in its decision.

“And that action cannot amount to anything than a nullity.”

The lawmaker also expressed worry that the concession by the Buhari-led administration raised a fundamental question of injustice on why “an elephant project with huge public investment would take place just at the end of the administration.

Senator Sulaiman also said that the concession was done without involving the host community, he stressed that It is their right to know, but Kano people were in the dark about the development.

Supporting the motion, Sen. Adamu Aliero (PDP-Kebbi) called for the set up of an ad hoc committee that would investigate the circumstances under which the Kano airport was concessioned.

“If it was not done in line with the laid down procedure of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), that concession should be revoked.

“The former FEC did not do due diligence in approving this concession. Since due diligence has not been done, we should investigate the circumstances.”

Similarly, Senate Chief Whip Mohammed Ndume said that so many things had been done wrong by the previous administration, adding that that was because the government was almost personalised and privatised.

“All concessions were done hurriedly without following due process and should be thoroughly investigated and reversed and actions taken.”

Also, Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger) said that concession in the business terms was very good.

“It’s a good way of making the operational activities of whatever institution is concessioned to be functional.

“In our own case, international best practices are thrown into the gutter.

“If you look at Kano International Airport in the last two years and then compare it to what happened within the last weeks of the exit of the last administration, you will understand what I’m talking about.

“There are so many airports like the Minna International Airport, which has been abandoned for almost 11 years, and so many other airports.

“It behooves on the Senate to call on the Federal Government to direct for a complete evaluation of this concession and to know what and what are the terms.”

Sen. Rufai Hanga (NNPP-Kano) said, “the airport when you visit, there is nothing to write home about because the tarmacs are not adequate enough.

“We want it reversed so that the federal government can do something about the airport so that it goes back to its former position being the number one airport in Nigeria servicing the West Africa region.”

In his remarks, Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau, who presided over plenary, said that concession was what is in vogue all over the world.

“This is because the government is not a good manager of businesses. We allow relevant committees as adopted to investigate to find out the truth of what is alleged.

“After everything has been investigated, it is my belief that we should go the path of concession because this is what is in vogue all over the world.

“You can imagine it is a Nigerian that is the one that is running Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, and the airport is doing very well,” he said.

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