By Inalegwu Shaibu
THE Senate Committee on Aviation has threatened to drag all concessionaires owing the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, N17.9 billion before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, if they fail to pay the debt within one month.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayim Udeh, issued the threat yesterday at a one-day investigative public hearing on the power outage at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport following disclosure by the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Fedelia Njeze, that 65 per cent of the concessionaires have no document of agreement.
She told the Committee that only 35 per cent of the concessionaires had documentation and agreement to operate with.
Udeh lamented the high debt burden, saying: â€œThe debt is virtually crippling FAANâ€™s operation. Because of this huge debt, FAAN, as a service provider, is unable to adequately provide services and rehabilitate the infrastructural facilities at our airport,Â including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport constructed over 30 years ago.
â€œAll the concessionaires are to go to FAAN and reconcile their accounts within one month. If anyone refuses to reconcile and pay, we will take the process and perhaps invite the EFCC.â€
Bi-Courtney denies owing FAAN
But the Chairman of Bi-Courtney, Chief Wale Babalakin, SAN, denied that the company was indebted to FAAN to the tune of N1.2 billion. He told the Committee that it was FAAN that owes his company N11 billion.
He said: â€œI hereby state categorically that Bi-Courtney does not owe N1.2 billion. It is FAAN that is indebted to us. In fact, they owed us N11 billion.â€
Commenting further on the debt, Babalakin said it has piled up because of FAAN failed to honour the agreements it entered into with the concessionaires.