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By NBF News
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Dr. Wale Babalakin
The ongoing airport concession dispute between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and its concessionaire, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, took a new twist on Sunday with FAAN disclosing that the Build Operate and Transfer arrangement it had with the company over the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two in Lagos was for 12 years and not 36 years.

FAAN, in a statement by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. Yakubu, Dati, also said that the newly reconstructed General Aviation Terminal or old domestic terminal was not part of the BOT agreement with Bi-Courtney.

The statement read, 'The attention of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has been drawn to recent statements in the media credited to the spokesperson of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited to the effect that the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, was included in the Build, Operate and Transfer concession between the company and the Federal Government.

'The authority is constrained to ask members of the public, especially aviation stakeholders, to discountenance that often bandied claim because it is false, misleading and mischievous, to say the least.

'We observed, with interest, quotations from questionable documents or portions of documents that suited their assertion about the duration of the BOT and government's directive for the so-called takeover of the GAT.

'We consider this unfortunate because Bi-Courtney knows that the only authentic document on the agreement limits the duration of the concession to 12 years and that the area of land occupied by the GAT is clearly outside the area of land granted Bi-Courtney for the concession. These facts have been stated for the umpteenth time.'

However, Bi-Courtney, in a swift reaction through its spokesman, Mr. Steve Omolale-Ajulo, described as false and illegal any claim that the BOT concession agreement between the company and FAAN was 12 years instead of 36 years.

He also said that GAT belonged to the company going by the spirit and letter of the MM2 concession agreement.

Omolale-Ajulo said, 'By insisting that GAT is not Bi-Courtney's and that our concession tenure is 12 years despite court orders to that effect, they have further shown how lawless they are and their disdain for the judiciary.

'They should allow the Supreme Court hear their appeal over the concession agreement they signed with us instead of putting forward shallow and irrational arguments. GAT is ours and will continue to be until they are able to overturn the appellate court judgement.'

Meanwhile, FAAN said skeletal operations had commenced at the newly reconstructed domestic terminal, while the installation of operational facilities was ongoing.

According to FAAN, passengers started using the arrival hall from October 23, 2012 to minimise the discomfort of arriving passengers, while full departures formalities will commence there in the next two weeks.