Arising from the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the concession of the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, the rumor mill has it that the major bidders for the airport concession are mainly Islamic countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Quatar.
This development has not really gone well with many Nigerians who believe that it forms part of a plan to Islamize the country and expose it to the security concerns currently present in many Islamic states. For example, Turkey has lately been embroiled in political unrest with allegations regarding an illegal arms shipment to Nigeria still in the air.
Even the National Assembly seems to be worried about the trend as an insider present at one of the recent hearings said some lawmakers were of the view that if the biddings were restricted to the middle east, then it will not get the buy-in of Nigerians who “will see it as colored by a northern and religious agenda.”
Similarly, other stakeholders have admitted that there is concern on the minds of stakeholders. For example, the Secretary General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd) said ““I am as worried as you, no doubt about that. The National Assembly is also as worried. I think, from what I’ve heard, the minister too is very cautious with what he is doing. Just the way he handled the Abuja airport’s runway is the way he is handling this.” This statement indicates that even the Minister of State is equally concerned.
Advising on how best to avoid the security concerns, Ojikutu advised that the committee should focus on concession of the terminals, cargo sections and car parks among others, but not the aeronautical side, an action even the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has warned against.
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