Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (BASL), operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 owes the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) accumulated debts of N2 billion accruing from non-remittance of certain fees to the agency over the years.
The general secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mr. Olayinka Abioye, who disclosed this today at a press conference in Lagos gave a breakdown of the debts as aviation security, N1, 215,757,045.91; management fee, N331, 088,683.68; fire and safety, N131, 219, 451.83; marshalling service, N2, 168,058.21; electricity, N438, 955,342.20; rent, N87, 864,556.06 and hotel, N116, 845,500.00.
Abioye, who spoke on behave of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and their ally, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) said the issues surrounding the concession of the terminal were yet to be resolved when the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika concluded plans to give out four prime airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano to concessionaires through the back door.
As the debts were yet to be settled, Abioye asked: “How then can we guarantee that the federal government of Nigeria, through our ministry will not unleash another monster on FAAN in the name of concession?”
“Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) owned and operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, on a concession called build, operate and transfer (BOT). Notwithstanding the yet to be resolved controversy that still trails the number of years the terminal shall be operated before it is handed over to government, are Nigerians aware that the same operator/concessionaire is owing and continues to owe FAAN more than N2 billion being various fees for services rendered to it by FAAN?
“The global communities are aware of this ignoble intention and plan to concession four airports, our national heritage and commonwealth and which are the cash cows of the industry, to “new investors” from God knows where.
“The problem with us in the sector is not the ability of FAAN to manage its affairs properly and in the wisest of ways, but the continued ministerial/official meddlesomeness inflicted on the industry and the pauperization, essentially, of FAAN through several policy somersaults, as no clear policy has been sustained in the last twenty five years, arising from regular change of government and ministers who initiate “their” own agenda/policies while dismantling existing ones, not minding the success or otherwise of such policies,” he said.
Abioye said FAAN has 6, 285 staff, 4, 124 pensioners and some unresolved issues but wondered what would become of the agency if certain issues were not resolved before the execution of the concession.
He added: “Concession litigations against FAAN are about 64, all pending in various courts, arising from fraudulent operations, faulty and irregular agreements, negation/vitiation of agreements, failure to perform according to agreements and so forth.
“Actuarial valuation of the entire staff of FAAN stands at N120 billion; monthly salaries and pensions stand at almost N2 billion naira monthly.
“How do we manage and clear all these cases, while the minister is busy planning the concession of our airports, albeit without regard to these existing legal issues?”
He said the unions were not against the concession but were worried about the lack of transparency in it (concession).
He advised the federal government to kick start the concession with one or two underutilized airport(s) as a pilot scheme, which if successful, should be replicated in other smaller airports.
“When these other airports become a success story as envisaged by government, then, and only then can the idea of sharing the big four can be entertained,” said Abioye.