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Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index


The Federal Government on 21st May, 2003, officially ordered the sales of national airlines, Nigeria Airways. The Airways used to be a pride to Nigerians. But mismanagement and looting by capitalist managers, administrators and politicians have led to the collapse of the airline. With the said privatisation many workers will lose their jobs.

It would be recalled that sometimes last year, over 1000 Airways workers were retrenched without being paid their gratuities and benefits. Equally over 5000 retired Airways workers are not being paid as and when due. Meanwhile political office holders are awarding to themselves huge wages and benefits backed by inflated contracts such as the recent increment in allowances of the executives and legislators.




Meanwhile, the pretexts used by government on privatisation of airways and other public assets are inefficiency, poor performance and corruption that characterise these public assets. In a statement credited to former minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana, he said " We have tried to rescue it (Nigeria Airways) but each attempt has failed. The more we tried to rescue it, the more it has failed".

But as usual, most of the money voted to make the Airways functional have been looted by top government officials in active collaboration with local and foreign contractors. It was reported that Airways top management officials allegedly embezzled up to the tune of 400 million US dollars few years back. At the end, it is those who colluded in ruining the Airways that will buy up the national airlines.

The labour leadership is using both sides of its mouth on the policy of privatisation. The NLC president, Adams Oshiomole, who is a member of National Council on Privatisation, sees nothing wrong in privatisation of commanding heights of economy including NEPA, NITEL etc, and only demands that government should accommodate labour and social interests in the privatisation exercise. The above condition was also canvassed for in the petition of NLC to Obasanjo on the sales of Nigeria Airways. In fact, the NLC should dissociate itself totally from all the anti-working people policies and organises and mobilises workers to resist sales of public assets, commercialisation of social services like health, education, water, telecommunication, liberalisation of economy, deregulation of oil industry, etc. The labour leadership should resign from all government committees and institutions like National Council on Privatisation, Petroleum Price Deregulation Committees, etc.




Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index