This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Chinese Deal to Build Four Terminals in Nigeria Criticised

An organisation known as Abuja Gateway Consortium has criticised the decision of the Federal Government to award contract to Chinese investors to build four international terminals at the airports located in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

The organisation argued that this would have severe implications on existing concession agreement with the Federal Government on the initial concession of Abuja airport.

The Abuja Gateway Consortium described the deal as dubious, alleging that it did not pass through due process.

The statement signed by Miebaka K. Adoki, the Chief Executive Officer of the company said that the agreement has wide implications on the security and sovereignty of the country.

"A critical analysis would show that building these airports on the basis so stated have implications for an existing concession agreement between Abuja Gateway Consortium and the Federal Government as well as implications for Nigeria's security, economy, sovereignty, employment environment and every other facet of life. It is dubious that an agreement of this magnitude can be reached without due process."

But a government source told THISDAY that as far as the present administration is concerned it does not recognise any concession agreement for the Abuja airport, adding that government has decided to do away with dubious agreements of the past that were carried out at the expense of the interest of the country and open the door for foreign investment so that there will be more capital inflow into the country.

The source also dismissed any security implication, describing it as mere incitement, noting that government and the people of Nigeria have not benefited from the "parochial deals" that were signed in the past that were aimed at exploiting the resources of the country by few individuals.

But Adoke insisted that the Abuja Gateway Consortium won the bid for the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja as far back as 2007 and paid US$10m as initial concession fees to the Federal Government, but the consortium has not been allowed to consummate the resulting contract because of "questionable actions similar to this latest fraud being planned for the aviation industry."

"It is therefore unacceptable that the government would attempt to enter into an agreement with Chinese investors when a consortium that includes Nigerian partners is being short-changed in a contract that the Chinese are now being given without due process. It is noteworthy to state that both Gatwick and City Airports of London are owned by Mr. Bayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian, who is the Chairman of Global Infrastructural Group."

The company; therefore, requested that the agreement signed with the Chinese consortium be immediately rescinded, particularly the one for Abuja.

"This is to enable due process to take place since all the processes concerning the subsisting agreement between Abuja Gateway Consortium the Federal Government is yet to be concluded. Until such a time as the contract between Abuja Gateway Consortium and FG is properly exited, it is impossible for any Chinese investor to hijack work on Abuja airport."

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