4 March 2013

Nigeria: FAAN - We Are Not After Babalakin

The general manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati, has explained that FAAN is not perpetrating a personal fight with the managing director of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd, Chief Wale Babalakin, over the concessioning of the Muritala Mohammed Airport, but for the overall interest of the country.

FAAN had dragged Bi-Courtney to court over the claim by the latter that it owned the Domestic Terminal 1 (formerly General Aviation Terminal, GAT) of the airport.

He also said that the case was not that of ethnic cleansing as being speculated but simply to preserve the country's commonwealth from being appropriated by an individual.

Dati, who spoke to LEADERSHIP in Jos yesterday, said that there were lots of discrepancies in the concessioning agreement signed between the company and former officials of the Ministry of Aviation which the current minister, Ms. Stella Oduah, was trying to correct.

He said that, rather than face the fact, Bi-Courtney rather resorted to whipping up ethnic sentiments just to confuse the issues at stake, as if the airport belonged to a particular part of the country.

According to him, there had been misleading reports by Bi-Courtney based on a non-existent court order or judgement over the ownership of the terminal, adding that an appeal against a distorted court judgement is before the apex court of the land.

He said: "It is unfortunate that Bi-Courtney could mislead the press and, by extension, the public into believing that the company had received a recent judgement or order on the ownership of Domestic Terminal 1, using a distorted interpretation of a court judgement given as far back as 2007, an appeal against which is still pending at the Supreme Court. This is more so because some of the newspaper reports mischievously declared that Bi-Courtney was 'set to take over the GAT'.

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