A consultant engaged by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for the first phase of a concession plan for major airports in the country is an oil and gas company with no experience in the aviation industry, SaharaReporters has learned.
The company, Proserve Energy Services Ltd, with its head office at Wuse II in Abuja, was awarded the consultancy to handle the concession of the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airport, sparking fresh questioning about the transparency of the government.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that Proserve’s Managing Director is Abba Armiya'u Ibrahim, but neither he nor the other five members of its management team has any aviation-related background.
The engagement of Proserve, some stakeholders say, is part of the reason they and aviation union leaders are against the concession exercise, citing government secrecy in the plan right from the outset.
Our investigation has also revealed that contrary to existing government regulations, there was no advertising in the media before the contract was awarded.
One stakeholder, who preferred to remain anonymous on the issue, argued that the government is not serious about fighting corruption in the system, wondering why an organization devoid of any aviation experience would be engaged by the government to midwife a major policy in it.
“If this government is serious about fighting corruption, what has happened in this circumstance is corruption incorporated for a government that claims to be fighting corruption,” the source argued. “We are really disappointed. There are several aviation consultancy firms in the sector that can perform the task and perform it well, but Sirika preferred an oil and gas firm” which has no knowledge about aviation industry.
Asking why laid-down procedures in the appointment of consultants for federal jobs were not followed, the source stressed that staff, stakeholders, and unions in the industry were kicking against the planned concessions of the airports, claiming that the whole exercise lacks transparency.
“It is now known that the government has a hidden agenda with this exercise,” he said. “Let’s wait and see where we will go from here.”
In an interview with our correspondent, a source close to FAAN said: “I still wonder what is to be concessioned by the government when all the revenue catchments areas of FAAN like the car parks, fuel dumps, shops, VIP lounges and advertisement revenue points have been given to Avitech and IQ respectively by the minister.
“Also, the aeronautic charges have been given to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by the same minister. So, what is left to be concessioned?”