The National Union of Air Transport Employees on Wednesday hailed the re-election of Nigerian-born Dr Benard Aliu as President of the Council, International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Aliu was re-elected by acclamation for a second three-year term at the council’s meeting in Montreal, Canada on Monday.
Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, told NAN in Lagos that the unions in the aviation sector were proud to be part of Aliu’s success story.
Abioye said: “We also contributed in our own little way to talk to our friends all over the world that he is a man that can be trusted and should be given the opportunity to serve ICAO again.
“The first thing we will like him to do is that, he must remember where he comes from. He must come back home and help us reorganise the aviation industry.
“If he speaks, I think the Federal Government will listen to him that we cannot go about reorganising our industry the way we are doing it.”
He noted that undue political interference, especially, in the aviation agencies and inconsistent policies had prevented the sector from actualising its potential.
Abioye also said the unions would continue to oppose the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports by the Federal Government because of previous experiences.
He said: “We welcome the concession of the airports under the Public Private Partnership arrangement but we must learn from our past experiences.
“Today, there are 68 legal cases between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and some other concessionaires in various courts in Nigeria.
“We are saying that no matter the name you call your plans to reposition the industry, you need to sit down and dialogue with the relevant stakeholders.”
He said that the unions had suggested to the government that it should start to experiment the concession with an airport for now.
He said: “We have suggested that we don’t need to concession the four major airports at once, but we can start with one. Let us see how it goes and how it will affect the workers there.”