By Sade Williams
The National Assembly has assured the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) and a member of The Resort Group, that it would resolve all the issues surrounding the MMA2 concession amicably.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, also asked BASL, Lagos to submit documents of the concession agreements, which gave the entity 12 or 36 years to manage MMA2.
The duo ordered the Chief Executive Officer of MMA, Capt Jarri William to supply the documents containing the agreements after the latter told the Joint Committee that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had breach the agreement entered into as far as the concession was concerned.
“Supply the first agreement for 12 years and 36 years. We are going to look at both sides; FAAN and BI-Courtney. We are aware that you have invested heavily in the terminal .We would to look at the issues holistically as legislators,” the Joint Committee said.
The members and gave the assurance to resolve the issues, on Friday when the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Aviation visited MMA2 during a tour of the tree terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, as part of their oversight functions.
Speaking after listening to presentations by a Director/Group Consultant, The Resort Group, Professor Olugbenga Ogunmoyela and the Chief Executive Officer of BASL, Captain Jari Williams, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Muhammad Adamu Aliero and his House counterpart, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, gave the assurance that the National Assembly was poised to resolve all the issues between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and BASL over the MMA2 concession.
They demanded and got copies of the concession agreement and promised to study them accordingly.
Aliero said: “We are going to wade into this controversy between Bi-Courtney and FAAN, we are going to do our very best to broker peace. I think that is exactly what the Joint Committee of the National Assembly is up to. To make sure that justice is done, we are poised to solve the lingering crisis for the benefit of Nigeria, for the benefit of Bi-Courtney and other stakeholders involved in the project. Of course, we have requested for all the necessary documents and too, we are aware of the court judgements. So, we are going to explore whatever means available to bring lasting solution to the issue on ground.
On her own part, Onyejeocha said: “The visitation of today started from the international airport and it is an assignment that will take us through all airports across the country. So, it is of immense importance that we visit MMA2 today. And on the issue on ground, we have requested all necessary document which we believe will help us to get to the root of the matter. With the collaboration of everyone, we will try our possible best to resolve the logjam between Bi-Courtney and FAAN.
“The truth of the matter is that Nigeria has to move on. And so, we are going to do everything humanly possible to see that we do what is good for Nigeria and will work effectively to ensure that there is unity and progress of the country. And having said that, we have requested that they give us the first agreement and the second agreement and without prejudice to anyone, we will keep our fingers crossed until the end.”
Earlier in his presentation, Ogunmoyela had lamented the refusal of FAAN to obey the letters of the concession agreement it willingly entered into with MMA2, saying this was not good for the image of the country.
He recalled that BASL had a development plan that would have enabled it to have four additional fingers and other facilities at the terminal and said this was truncated by FAAN, whose leadership, he added, had been changed several times since the MMA2 concession started.
Ogunmoyela specifically expressed dismay that all the resources invested by BASL for regional flight operations to start in the terminal had gone down the drain after FAAN and other government agencies truncated the approval obtained from the Federal Government by the company for the operations, describing this as “a negative signal for the country”.
He, therefore, urged the lawmakers to use their “collective wisdom and good offices to ensure that justice is done in this matter”.
Also speaking, Williams lamented that FAAN had violated almost all the provisions of the concession agreement and disobeyed all the court judgments on the concession thereby denying BASL over 50 per cent of its deserved revenue.
While describing the lawmakers’ visit as timely, he appealed to them to do everything possible to ensure that FAAN did not go away with “this impunity”.
He later presented a copy each of the “Summary of Bi-Courtney Limited’s Challenges” to Adamu and Onyejeocha, pleading with them to study the documents to be able to take informed decision about the MMA2 concession.
Also on the entourage was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, and other members of the Aviation Committees of both chambers.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers have said that the contractor handling the Enugu Airport has compromised the quality of the facilities at the airport, adding that this had led to the withdrawal of one of the airlines in the country; Aero Contractors from the airport.
The Joint Committee lamented that Enugu Airport runway, approach light and water was not working at the airport; the gateway to the Eastern part of the country.
“The runway is bad, the Approach light is not there, there is no 24 hours running water at the airport. This is not good for international airport,” The Joint Committee said.
He added that the runway is no longer safe for flight operation.
On Port Harcourt Airport, the Joint Committee said that the airport was not befitting, as the gateway to the South South, adding that it would meet with the Ministry of Aviation on the state of the airport.
On the new terminal at the international wing of the airport being constructed by Chinese, the joint committee stated that the project was built to standards but that the only problem is that there is delay in the job.
The Committee added that the project was to have been handed over December 2016 but that the contractor has assured the legislators that it would now be delivered in December 2018.
About 12 legislators from both the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Aviation carried out oversight function on the facilities at MMA, Lagos.