The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should be held responsible for the stunted development of Murtala Mohammed Airport 2, the Chairman Bi- Courtney Group Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin said Thursday.
Babalakin, who spoke at the ongoing 4-day public Hearing by the Nkiruka Onyejeocha- headed House committee on Aviation in Abuja also alleged that FAAN has refused to pay damages of N132 billion to Bi- Courtney as ruled by Justice Olotu of the Federal High Court on the 3rd of March 2009.
The judgement which was in favour of Bi- Courtney Limited required that FAAN relinquished GAT to Bi- Courtney as well as pay damages of N132 billion.
He said the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has violated and desecrated the principles of the Rule of Law failing to execute judgment made by the Federal High Court.
Babalakin also said that FAAN delayed the development of the airport.
Explaining the processes that culminated in Bi- Courtney getting the airport project, he said: “In 2000, after the old Lagos Domestic Terminal was destroyed by fire, FAAN advertised for a Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (DBOT) concession in two national newspapers which was given to Standerton but was unable to execute.
“After 12 month, the BCL was invited as reserve bidder. BCL executed concession agreement with Federal Government and FAAN in April 2003 after two years of extensive negotiation
” FAAN provided an inadequate design that was a large warehouse, like the old Abuja Terminal. BCL, influenced by international standards especially South Africa, redesigned, and this was approved by the Ministry of Aviation.
According to him, “the airport had in the approved design Hotel, conference Facilities, Mono Rail,Fuel Hydrant and Power plant but because of FAAN’s resistance, these projects were delayed.”
He further stated that the process of the concession, which led to BCL taking over the burnt former domestic terminal of the Lagos airport to build the modern terminal was transparent.
On the court case that gave his company the huge judgement benefit, he said: “FAAN did not defend itself properly at the court Bi- Courtney defended itself vigorously and won the case.
“Sanderton was forced to discontinue against Stabilini Visinoni (SVL) and Bi-Courtney. FAAN lost the case. If any judgment was obtained against FAAN, it was due to poor conduct of its case. Bi-Courtney cannot be responsible for FAAN’s dereliction of duty.”
He prayed the committee to urge FAAN “to comply with the laws of Nigeria; allow MMA2 to continue its development; complete the handover of GAT and the neighbouring plot already allotted to MMA2; commence the regional flights for which there is approval..”
He further states: “We have an agreement on this issue and have spent a fortune inmcomplying with the requirements.”
However, Monica Alphonse, who represented FAAN said the Agency was not part of the committee that examined the agreement.
“FAAN was never involved, it never had a representative in signing the agreement so there is no way as far as FAAN was concerned that the committee existed.
“When we constituted the agreement, GAT was not involved in the area given to Bi-Courtney. GAT never formed part of the concession. It cannot be handed over through a mere letter but has to be through a cogent agreement.
Bi-Courtney’s agreement on the development of the airport was terminated by FAAN because the contract was delayed, Alphonse said.
Her words: “Last year FAAN had an agreement with Bi-Courney on the termination and a new agreement was made but up till this day Bi-Courtney has not commenced work on that site.”
Nkiruka Onyejeocha, chairperson of the committee explained that the need to review the concessions was part of the reasons for the hearing, adding that it would ultimately culminate in a better Aviation sector that will be a pride to the country.
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