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We own the airports, foreigners should not dictate to us



“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Some foreign busybodies have embarked on the attempt to treat Nigeria with the sort of contempt we don’t deserve – unless we allow them. We should firmly resist the attempt.

 The issue at stake is the concessioning of four Nigerian International Airports – Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Portharcourt. Incidentally, they are probably the only four profitable airports in Nigeria today. The rest, whether owned by the federal or a state government, are losing money. Most of the state government owned airports have always been nothing more than great monuments to somebody’s ego kept going by governments at great costs. The FG cannot however touch them. Even the loss generating airports are untouchable. No private investors will touch them. That is the point of this article today. Government has called for bids from the private sector for the exclusive right to manage our “crown jewels” in the aviation sector.

Ordinarily, there would have been no objections from me. I have been a long term supporter of the idea of allowing the private sector to manage such businesses. They invariably do a better job. Examples include the operations of airlines, the GSM revolution and schools. Left to NITEL, Nigerians would still not have up to one million operating lines. There is no dispute here about privatisation being a better option most of the time. However, every rule has an exception which calls for taking a closer look.


Airports represent one of those exceptions calling for prudent concessioning. With our airports, giving them to the highest bidders might generate more revenue immediately only to give Nigerians more pain in the long term. Even the financial considerations are complex rather than simple. Here are the reasons.

Very few cities in the world are like London which has two international airports – Gatwick and Heathrow. Every other international airport enjoys an unchallenged monopoly within a large area. And, we all know the financial advantages which monopolists enjoy with respect to charges for services. It is invariably a matter of “take it; or leave it”.

You frequently don’t need to be a brilliant manager once given a monopolistic situation to make money. By its very nature, it is almost like having a licence to print as much money as the public will allow you. Consumers have no alternative. Obviously, if we are embarking on such a move our charity should begin at home; not abroad. We should allow Nigerians to have the first opportunities to enjoy our four monopolies. Is this xenophobia? Yes, it is. It is financial xenophobia – to which I readily plead guilty. Foreigners don’t do us any favours. Why should we do them any?

Nigerians should also not allow themselves to be deceived by claims of superior expertise. Already, there are Nigerians managing airports – small and big. I don’t want to disclose names now; because meanings might be read into the message. But, they will present themselves at the right time once there is a national consensus that we should allow fellow Nigerians to manage our airports.

That is not all. Airports are strategic security assets. Right now, we determine who enters our airports. Hand them to foreigners and we no longer enjoy absolute control of the ports. That cannot by any stretch of imagination be in our own interest. The feeling in some quarters that we can allow citizens of “friendly nations” to operate the airports overlooks the fact that national interests can change an ally today to an adversary tomorrow. With our airport under their control, we would have placed our country in mortal danger on account of a short-sighted decision made by us.

The strategic positions of the four airports also should caution us. Kano, Lagos and Portharcourt are located within striking distances of all our oil and gas installations, as well as our industrial centres and military units. Our fellow Nigerians can at least be trusted not to betray us and allow incursions into our country from any airport.



“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask for what you can do for your country.” US President John Kennedy, 1917-1963.

There are several steps we can take to ensure that indigenisation of airport concession is a reality.

First thing we do, let’s advise all the Senior Advocates representing various foreign interests to forget the idea of seizing our airports for their clients. I am aware that the briefs could run into upper eight figures or lower nine. That is a lot of money for anyone – even Jeff Bezos – to forgo. But, there are some ideas whose time is past. Allowing foreigners to manage our airports is one of them.

Second, if they will not give up willingly, then the Nigerian people should force them to stop; not by violence. But, by rising up in the former three regions – East, North and South – and refusing to surrender our airports to non-Nigerians. Fortunately, this is a non-partisan issue. It is not an APC versus PDP matter; a North against South affair, it is not religious or ethnic. It involves all Nigerians irrespective of who they are. So, there should be no difficulty acting as a nation to make this happen.

Third, it is probably a wise idea to allow bidders from each of the three regions – East, North and West – to have the right of first refusal. That way, nobody feels cheated by the arrangement. I have deliberately left out Abuja for now. But, once the basic idea of indigenisation of airport concessions is accepted an innovative idea for the concession of Abuja will be presented.

Fourth, the advocacy must be led by the people. In 2022, all politicians will be totally engaged with 2023 elections. Unless the Nigerian people are alert to their responsibilities, we might wake up one day to be told that non-Nigerians have won the rights to manage our airports. By then revocation of concession agreements might be impossible; or, at least costly.


Those of us old enough to remember should recollect what happened when Lagos state was mindlessly ordered to discontinue its metro line project in 1984 by the Federal Military Government. Millions of dollars were forfeited.

Any way we look at this matter, it is vital that we pre-empt the issue of foreigners taking over.

Finally, it is an established fact that people learn faster by doing things themselves than by observing others perform. We will never close any knowledge or skill or attitude gap by watching others doing things for us. Management of airports calls for accumulation of bodies of knowledge, skills and attitudes which can be learnt, mastered and eventually improved upon. We can only achieve global standards by rolling up our sleeves and doing things ourselves.

There is very little doubt in my mind that young Nigerians, male and female, if challenged can manage our airports up to world standards. They can master the sciences and the arts of airport management. Imagination is not lacking; neither is the desire and will. What has been lacking is the opportunity for them to do great things. Let us give them the chance now with our airports.



Breaking: CBN jacks up interest rate to 15.5%



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which measures interest rate, from 14 per cent to 15.5 per cent to tame rising inflation.

The interest rate was raised from 13 per cent to 14 per cent in July this year.

The monetary policy rate is the baseline interest rate in an economy, every other interest rate used within an economy is built on.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, addressing journalists on Tuesday after the committee’s meeting in Abuja, said 10 members of the committee voted for the rate hike.

In August, Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to a nearly two-decade high at 20.52 per cent.

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Lamborghini pushes out final Aventador, Ultimae, ends V12 supercar



Supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini, has announced the production of the last Aventador. You can call it Avantador’s last dance. The final Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae was rolled off the production line in Sant’Agata, Italy, and kissing goodbye to V12-powered supercar that shaped an era. The Lamborghini V12 will be hybridised going forward.

This Ultimae Roadster marks the 11,465th Aventador to reach customers worldwide. First launched in 2011, the Aventador is not exactly modern, but when it debuted, it was described by CEO Stephan Winkelmann as “a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology,” with “performance that is simply overwhelming.”

A plug-in hybrid replacement is expected to be revealed later this year, having been spied testing.

Lamborghini made sure the final model was the most powerful, with the 6.5-litre unit producing 10bhp more than in the previous range-topping Aventador, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, sending 769bhp (780PS, hence the name) to both axles. The Aventador-based Essenza SCV12 produces 819bhp but is limited to track use.

The Ultimae’s 531lb ft torque peak matches the SVJ’s, with which it shares its power- to-weight ratio. But with a 0-62mph time of just 2.8sec and a top speed of 221mph, the Ultimae is the fastest road-going Aventador.

The 350 coupés and 250 roadsters – each sold with a numbered plaque – were offered in a range of unique colour schemes, including a new grey-on-grey option with contrasting red trim elements, while the roadster could be specified with an exposed carbonfibre roof panel. It was also subtly marked out from other Aventadors by way of a unique styling package that “took the best components” of the S and SVJ.

The Aventador’s plug-in hybrid replacement will serve as a bridge to pure-electric Lamborghini models in the future.

This electrified future will see the Hurácan and Lamborghini Urus also go down the same route, and an all-electric 2+2 introduced in the second half of the decade.

Importantly, however, while its replacement will use an electrified drivetrain, it will take the bulk of its power from a large-capacity V12, in line with company boss Stephan Winkelmann’s commitment to the emotional value of its supercars.

He told Autocar last year that there is “a lot of emotion attached” to the 12-cylinder engine, which he is particularly aware of, having been involved in the launch of the Aventador in his first stint as the boss of Lamborghini in 2011.

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How to use your pensions for mortgage



The National Pension Commission recently approved the guidelines to access Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.

The approval was in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage.

PenCom however specified conditions to access the funds. A major condition is that the applicant must be in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.

It stated that application for equity contribution for residential mortgage must be in person and not by proxy.

How to apply

Anybody who is interested can approach his PFA to get explanation on the process. The PFA will print the statement of account and determine the 25 per cent.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Spokesperson, PenCom, Abdulqadir Dahiru, said, “Then when you have that, you can now go back to your mortgage lender, get a letter of offer of your property, go through their own due diligence to agree for them to finance because the pension is only giving you 25 per cent; 75 per cent will still be financed by somebody.


“That person must give you an offer letter for a loan that he is ready to finance you, and this is the equity contribution you are required to bring. So if you have that equity contribution with that letter of offer, which has been validated by the mortgage lender, that is when you can approach your PFA to request for your 25 per cent.”

Maximum amount allowed

PenCom stated that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.

Where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, the RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).

Consent form

If a person had accessed part of the funds before either for leaving paid employment before retirement age, he will still get lump sum at retirement. He can still get part of the funds for mortgage after meeting specific conditions stated in the guidelines, but he must sign a consent form to get it.

Aisha Dahir-Umar, DG National Pension Commission

Dahiru said, “If you have taken 25 per cent for temporary loss of job and then you get employment again, and you continue contributing and you come to collect for a mortgage, you will sign a consent to say that I’m fully aware that this money I want to withdraw to finance a house will affect the amount I may likely take when I retire, I understand and whatever.

“So, basically you are indemnifying the PFA that you understand so that at the point of retirement, if your benefit is lower compared to your colleagues you will not complain.”

Mortgage lender

To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate, according to PenCom’s guidelines.


According to PenCom, a worker must have an offer letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and verified by the mortgage lender. The RSA of the applicant must have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years). A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application.

Age limit

RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.


Dahiru explained, “If I am an employee and working in an organisation where the retirement age is 55 years, if I am 50, or 51 years, I can access because I have five years or more than three years to retire. But once I get to 52 that, means I have three years which I cannot access.”

According to PenCom’s guidelines, married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.

Data recapturing

RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.

Dahiru said, “But it’s very important that RSA holders have done their recapture. When you have not done your data recapturing, we can’t process it.”

Insufficient 25 per cent contribution

The PenCom spokesperson said, “Where the 25 per cent the mortgage lender is asking for is equal to the 25 per cent of your RSA, definitely we will process. But if what mortgage lender is asking for is higher than what you can get from your PFA, you will have to look for the difference and pay and show evidence to your PFA.

“For instance, if your mortgage lender is looking for N2.5m and the mortgage is N10m, and the mortgage lender says bring 25 per cent as equity contribution, and your own 25 per cent in your RSA is only N1.5m, you will have to look for that difference of N1m and pay; then come with it with your offer letter for the property and the evidence that I have paid, then your PFA will give you the balance of N1.5m which is your 25 per cent.”


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