This Day (Lagos)

5 November 2012

Nigeria: GAT Not Concessioned to Bi-Courtney, Says FAAN

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was not part of the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession between Bi-Courtney Limited and the Federal Government.

In a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate Communication of FAAN, Yakubu Dati, the agency alleged that there were distortions of the original documents signed by the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney.

"The authority is constrained to ask members of the public, especially aviation stakeholders, to discountenance that often bandied claim because it is false, misleading and mischievous, to say the least. We observed, with interest, quotations from questionable documents or portions of documents that suited their assertion about the duration of the BOT and government's directive for the so-called takeover of the GAT," the agency said.

It stated that whatever documents that would be considered, looking at the issues between Federal Government and the company would be the "only authentic document on the agreement limits the duration of the concession to 12 years and that the area of land occupied by the GAT is clearly outside the area of land granted Bi-Courtney for the concession. These facts have been stated for the umpteen time."

FAAN alleged that "Bi-Courtney is only crying foul now because the Federal Government has decided that there should be transparency and fairness in all concession agreements with Federal Government agencies."

The agency said that it was convenient for Bi-Courtney to deceive unwary Nigerians into thinking that the MMA Domestic Terminal I (named MMA2 by Bi-Courtney) controversy would discourage private investors in the industry but it forgets to add that "ill-motivated, manipulated and unbelievable concession agreements, skewed a

gainst the interest of the Nigerian people, cannot stand the test of time."

"No amount of playing to the gallery, twisting the law and facts or appeal to undue sentiment can change this," FAAN also said.

Reacting to the FAAN's position, spokesman to Bi-Courtney, Steve Omolale-Ajulo, said in a statement that by insisting that GAT was not Bi-Courtney's and that "our concession tenure of 36 years is 12 years, despite court orders to that effect, they have further shown how lawless they are and their disdain for the judiciary. They should allow the Supreme Court hear their appeal over the concession agreement they signed with us instead of putting forward shallow and irrational argument."

He also said, "We are aware of their grand conspiracy to render MMA2 useless, send over 2000 Nigerians into the job market and also render our billions of naira investment in MMA2 useless with the building of GAT. If they so much love Nigerians, they should answer the several summons of Nigerians' representatives in d National Assembly to explain their Ministry's activities. For now, GAT is ours and will continue to be until they are able to overturn that appellate court judgment," the spokesman added.

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