The motion sponsor lamented that Nigeria’s historical public policy journey, from commercialisation, privatisation, public partnerships to concession has mostly resulted in national embarrassment, corruption, and controversies in most sectors.
The House of Representatives has asked the federal government to immediately suspend further concession of airports in Nigeria.
This resolution was contained in a motion on the ‘Need to Investigate the Concession of Airports in Nigeria’ by Rep. Kama Nkemkanma (LP, Ebonyi) at Wednesday’s plenary.
Presenting the motion, Rep. Nkemkanma noted that the most viable airports in Nigeria were concessioned to foreign firms through resolutions of the Federal Executive Council, which did not follow due process, public accountability and established laws of the land.
He said the eventual outcome of the opaque concession exercise is the enrichment of a few unpatriotic Nigerians and their foreign cohorts at the detriment of Nigerians and the eventual enslavement of these public infrastructures to foreigners for many decades.
He recalled, “Our major airports in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano have remained consistent subjects of controversies due to entrenched personal interests that have undermined the laws of the land, irrespective of the occasional efforts of our anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission.
The myopic personal interests of these economic vampires have relegated our so-called international airports to mere airstrip status after almost seven decades in the industry, and can never be compared with globally renowned airports such as Heathrow, Dubai, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Qatar, Vancouver, and others.”
The lawmaker lamented that even on the African continent, where one out of every six Africans is a Nigerian; population wise, the South African pairs of Tambo-Johannesburg and Cape Town, Cairo, Casablanca-Morocco and Houari Boumediene in Algeria, have all outpaced Nigeria and we also lag behind South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopian Airlines.
He further regretted that the national historical public policy journey from indigenisation, commercialisation, privatisation, public partnerships, concessions, and others has fetched us nothing rather than monumental embarrassment, massive corruption, and controversies in the Aviation and other sectors.
Rep. Nkemkanma equally stressed that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), empowers the National Assembly to control the economy, ensuring social justice, equality, and opportunity for citizens.
“Nigerians are currently facing job loss and future generation’s economic hardship due to the airport concession policy, and that the constitutional oversight role of this House involves exposing corruption, inefficiency and waste in laws and correcting defects as per 1999 Constitution of Nigeria,” he added.
The House unanimously adopted the motion and mandated the House Committee on Aviation (when constituted) to investigate the Nigerian Airport concessions and report back to the House for further legislative action.