Two days after three unions in the Nigerian aviation industry accused Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), of owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over N2 billion arising from several unremitted revenues, the terminal operator has described the allegation as a fabricated lie.
In a statement by BASL spokesman Steve Omolale, the company said the FAAN has failed to obey its contractual agreement it signed with BASL.
According to him, FAAN owes BASL N200 billion, which it generated from its activities at the General Aviation Terminal at the Lagos airport.
Bi-Courtney also accused the unions of intentionally peddling lies about the company
Mr. Omolale insisted that the unions were aware of FAAN’s indebtedness to BASL but have chosen to fabricate falsehoods in a bid to discredit BASL and mislead the public.
“It is common knowledge that the aforementioned unions [NUATE, ATSSAN and NUP] actually challenged the Concession Agreement in court and lost the case in Appeal No. CA/A/141/M/2009,” he said.
“It appears that the unions are seeking to undermine the decision of a federal court. There is no better time to remind the unions that Nigeria is a country of laws and all citizens are bound by the laws of the country.
“We at MMA2 are very proud that we run the most efficient airport terminal in Nigeria. We have demonstrated clearly that, if given the opportunity, a Nigerian company is capable of delivering exceptional services, particularly in the provision of critical infrastructure.
“Given that we operate on 5 percent of the revenue of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, our achievements over the years are deserving of commendation from all quarters.”
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) had claimed on Tuesday that Bi-Courtney was indebted to FAAN to the tune of over N2 billion.
The unions in a joint press conference said that the terminal operator had failed to comply with all the contractual agreement between it and FAAN.
At a press briefing, Olayinka Abioye, the General Secretary of NUATE, said that Bi-Courtney’s partnership with FAAN was a failure as it was laced with several controversies.
In the unions’ breakdown of the purported debts of Bi-Courtney to FAAN, the unions had claimed that the company, in its 10 years of operation, owed FAAN the following: aviation security, N1.2bn; management fees, N331m; fire and safety fees, N131.2m; marshaling service fees, N2.1m; electricity, N439 million; rent and conference fees, N87.8m; and hotel fees, N116.9m.
The unions insisted that because of the sordid experience FAAN was having with Bi-Courtney, it would continue to kick against the concessioning of the four major airports.
It would be recalled that controversies had enveloped the contractual agreement between FAAN and Bi-Courtney since the commencement of the agreement in 2007, with both parties accusing each other of violating the agreement reached.
Till date, there is no clear cut agreement on the years of the operations between the two companies before the terminal is handed over to FAAN under the BOT arrangement. There are some documents showing 12 years while others claimed 24 and 36 years before the transfer of the terminal to FAAN.