FAAN MD apologises to Oshiomhole over airport crisis
THE authorities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have apologised to the Edo State Government and air travellers over the incident that led to the closure of the Benin Airport on Tuesday.
A delegation of FAAN, led by the Managing Director, Mr. George Uriesi, told Governor Adams Oshiomhole that they were sorry over 'the events of yesterday.' Also in the FAAN delegation are the General Manager, Mr. Yakubu Dati; Deputy General Manager, Mr. Kolawole Adefomiwa; Chief Security Officer, Mr. Adeboye Festus and the Benin Airport Manager, Mr. Ayodele Sunday;
Uresi said, 'We deeply regret the events of yesterday and we will like to find out how we can avoid a situation like this arising in the future, because it is neither in the interest of FAAN nor in the interest of Edo State Government for the Airport to be closed down, because there was a lot of hardship and serious economic consequences as a result of the shutdown and there is need to settle this matter.
'I want to assure Your Excellency that FAAN is a good corporate citizen. I am convinced that there was a misunderstanding and I want to get to the bottom of this misunderstanding so that it does not happen again.
'If we have any obligations, we will meet them, and I hope that in the future if there are issues of misunderstanding, we will be able to talk about them quickly without them leading to delays and inconveniences to the public. So, sir we are here to reassure you of our respects and desire to be good corporate citizens and partner with the State Government to deliver services to the people of Edo State,' Uriesi said.
In his response, Governor Oshiomhole noted that tax law was a federal law which the state government was only trying to implement.
He noted that the tax which FAAN defaulted on was the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) which even the President and Governors pay.
Oshiomhole said the State Board of Internal Revenue got a proper Court Order to seal the FAAN Manager's Office, noting that the FAAN Manager on his own decided to seal up the Airport to gain public sympathy.
The Governor said the problem with Nigeria is not immunity, but impunity as people often violate the law and get away with it.
He insisted that anybody who works and lives in Edo State must pay tax as a contribution to the development of the State, adding that to avoid a re-occurrence of the ugly incident, FAAN must comply with the law.
He however, expressed his displeasure with the FAAN Manager, Benin Airport, Mr. Ayodele Sunday for dramatizing the issue, saying 'I hope in future, this sort of thing does not happen.'