3 October 2012

Nigeria: Abuja Airport - Consortium Sues Aviation Minister Over Contract Breach

Photo: Vanguard
Aviation minister, Stella Oduah

The proposed infrastructural development of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, by some foreign investors may have run into a hitch as the Abuja Gateway Consortium has filed a suit in the Federal High Court, Abuja division, praying it to declare that it has a valid and subsisting contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria on the airport.

Plaintiffs in the suit are Mr. Miebaka Kenneth Adoki, appointed by power of attorney to represent Abuja Gateway Consortium, and Nairanet Technologies Limited, while the attorney-general of the federation, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), International Finance Corporation, minister of aviation, minister of finance, Mrs. Stella Oduah and minister of the Federal Capital Territory were listed as defendants.

In the plaintiffs' claim in the suit with reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/550/2012, they are praying the court for a declaration that a valid and subsisting contract exists between the plaintiffs and the defendants having regard to the plaintiffs' Bid Offer; the defendants' acceptance evidenced by the concession award; and the plaintiffs' consideration in the sum of $10 million only, being substantial payment as required under the agreement payment for the concession.

They are also praying the court for a declaration that the contract to concession the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport between the plaintiffs and the defendants is binding on the federal government, its ministries, agents and agencies.

The plaintiffs are also praying the court for a declaration that the letter dated April 28, 2009, containing a purported attempt to discontinue the concession is void as the alleged change in policy never occurred and the purported refund to the plaintiff was never made.

They are also seeking a declaration by the court that the defendants' various joint and several attempts to award a subsequent concession over the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, during the subsistence of a valid concession are illegal, unlawful and a breach of contract.

Consequently, the plaintiffs are praying the court for an order of specific performance compelling the defendants to give effect to the concession award by executing the concession agreement as stipulated under the terms of the concession and allowing them (plaintiffs) on behalf of the consortium to begin implementing the agreement over the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The plaintiffs are also praying for an order of mandatory injunction directing and compelling the federal government and its agents/agencies in the aviation sector to forthwith deliver up possession of the aviation terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airprt, Abuja, to the plaintiff as expressly stipulated by the concession award to which the defendants have consented to by the award.

Finally, the writ which was issued by the plaintiffs' counsel, Messrs Aluko Folarin of Trumann Rockwood solicitors, also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents/agencies forthwith from developing and/or constructing, establishing, concessioning and/or licensing of any other airport or airport terminal in the Federal Capital Territory, without having recourse to the plaintiff.

The Abuja Gateway Consortium had, in a press statement, said that, in November 2006, the federal government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises issued a contractual award for the concession of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which it said was issued in their favour as a special purpose vehicle incorporating both indigenous and international firms and players engaged in world-class aviation services.

The statement further said that, following the successful bid process, it was fully consummated with the payment by the consortium of the total sum of US$10 million being the full award sum.

It further said that the consortium had sourced for and secured the sum of US$1.3 billion towards the execution of the concession and duly notified the federal government.

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