Ikeja – The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and AIC Hilton Ltd., on Friday engaged in a serious argument with each other over the ownership of hectares of land.
The land is located at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja.
It took the quick intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Airport’s Command, Mr Olatunde Caulcrick, to bring the situation under control.
A similar fight broken out early this month between the two organisations when workers of AIC Hilton were chased out by aviation security, the security outfit of FAAN and armed policemen.
Speaking on the development, Mr Gbenga Akinyemi, the Personal Assistant to Mr Harry Akande, the owner of Hilton, explained that the company was on the land by virtue of a lease agreement it entered into with FAAN since February 1998.
He said that there was a subsisting court order which stopped FAAN from coming into the land to harass its personnel.
“I don’t know why they are here because they are not supposed to come here and disturb the ongoing construction work. This is a development that has been consented since 1998.
“In addition, there is a 50-year lease, which is still subsisting till now. That is not tenable before us because FAAN and other security agencies are on ground at the airport guiding the environment.
“Even if it is too close to the airport, there are some security measures in place by FAAN to ensure total security of the environment.
“There are airport hotels around the world attached to terminals like in Amsterdam airport and others, “ he said.
Mr Yakubu Dati, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, described the action of the concessionaire as an attempt to breach security at the airport.
Dati insisted that the land in question belonged to the Federal Government and would be wrong for any individual to lay claim on it.
He said that the agency would continue to respect the rule of law and would not be forced to result to violence in spite of attempts by the concessionaire to lure it into crisis.
The general manager agreed that the land was given to the company by the government for 50 years; it was later reversed due to the closeness of the proposed hotel to the terminal.
Dati said that the court of arbitration had ordered FAAN to compensate the company to the tune of 78 million dollars.
“If you are dealing with civilised people, I believe they should continue to pursue compensation and not resulting to fracas.
“He can’t collect compensation and still want to collect the land, it means you are not a law-abiding citizen yourself, but there is no level of provocation that will drive FAAN to go violent with them,’’ he said.
Caulcrick directed the two organisations to maintain peace and order.
“I will get across to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar on the matter,’’ he said. (NAN)