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Again, FAAN Attempts To Concession Protocol Department Of Lagos Airport, As Unions Protest

In a move repeated several times over the last four years, the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has again attempted to illegally concession the protocol department and passenger service of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos to two controversial companies that are reportedly deeply in debt.

Aviation sources said the two companies, Thales Global Solutions (TGS) and Nas Pearl Assist Services Ltd, belong to John Adebanjo, owner of Aviation Logistics and Management Services (ALMS). ALMS is engaged in gathering profiles on passengers who use Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.

A document dated April 26, 2017, and exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, disclosed to FAAN staff that the management had recently concessioned the department to Mr. Adebanjo’s company. Mr. Sadiku Rafindadi, FAAN’s Director of Commercial Business Development, signed the letter. 

The document stated that the concessionaire had agreed to consolidate its firm’s work with FAAN staff and wished to commence work at the terminal immediately, a development that sparked protests from FAAN’s employees. 

SaharaReporters learned that a meeting was scheduled for today, Friday, April 28, 2017, between the company and some FAAN staff. However, at the time this report was filed, the meeting had yet to take place.

Details of the financial terms of the concession were unavailable, but an FAAN source disclosed that the agency’s staff generate about N12 million monthly from services at MMA’s international wing alone. In 2016, industry unions had fiercely opposed a proposal by the controversial concessionaire firm to pay FAAN N9 million per month in concession fees. 

In rejecting the proposal, FAAN employees argued that there was no justification for the agency to hand over management of services to a private firm for a fee less than the agency’s staff were already generating. In the face of the opposition, the concession firm said it hoped, after a year of the agreement, to increase the concession revenue by 50 percent. It also proposed a 75 percent revenue increase after two years and 100 percent increase after three years.

Several FAAN employees emphasized that the N12 million they generated monthly was at MMIA alone, pointing out that their management planned to concession MMIA, MMA2 and the local wing, General Aviation Terminal (GAT), at a giveaway rate of N5 million.

One union leader, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by the management, vowed that the union would continue to resist “a backward agreement.” He urged the concession firm and other interested concessionaires to spread their operations to other airports in Nigeria where services were not currently available. 

Another union leader stated that workers were stoutly against the present concession deal. “What is N9 million?” he asked, adding, “For FAAN to hand over the service to a private firm, it should be at an amount higher than what [the agency] is presently generating.”

According to him, “FAAN management has been approaching this concession issue in a very questionable manner. Protocol and passenger services go beyond revenue generation. It’s a matter of security. Why will FAAN just engage someone without security checks to have access to restricted areas of the airport in this era of terrorism?” Implying there was collusion between FAAN’s management and the private concession firm, the union leader claimed, “We all know that it is a voice of Jacob and of Esau. The management has been on this for over four years. But every time workers and the unions kick against the backward agreement, FAAN returns to its shell only to come out with another strategy. But, this time around, we won’t allow them to take us for granted because there is no transparency in the whole deal.”

Two sources within FAAN alleged that Mr. Adebanjo’s ALML was massively indebted to FAAN on its on-going concession agreement. According to them, the company was yet to pay FAAN any concession fees in the past six months. “Why is management desperately trying to use the backdoor to reward Chief Adebanjo with more opportunities to reap profits at the expense of the Nigerian people?” one of the union leaders asked.