It is no longer news that all is not well with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and most of its concessionaires as most of the gentlemanly agreements FAAN entered into with them have been controversially rejected afterwards.
Among such concessions is the one on MMA2, a private terminal being managed by the Bi-Courtney Air Services Limited (BASL) owned by the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Wale Babalakin.
Others include: the Chief Harry Akande’s AIC which initially signed an agreement with FAAN to construct a world class five star hotel at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport; an agreement which was sadly turned down after it was signed and sealed and that of Maevis Nigeria Limited, a private company, FAAN concessioned to manage the Airport Operations Management System which was put to an end in an unpalatable manner over controversial agreement.
While there are still other controversial concessions that have jammed the rock over ‘ambiguous or unfavourable’ reasons, it is no longer news that nearly all these identified concessions have become a matter of litigation with all sides claiming rights.
But the particular concession which has generated the hottest controversy and still generating it is that of FAAN/Bi-Courtney on the number of years that was agreed for the management of Bi-Courtney to run the private terminal it laboured to help rebuild after government could not rebuild the one that mysteriously got burnt about 16 years ago.
As good as this concession would have been, being the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) the federal government would ever sign in the sector, the aim has almost been bungled all in the name of flawed agreement.
As expected, FAAN being an agent of government should always be above board whenever taking any decision for government with focus on national interest.
In other words much is expected of FAAN particularly its legal department which is expected to parade a team of professionals with high sense of credibility and intelligence laced with smartness devoid of slackness.
All these qualities seem to be absent in view of the controversies that have continued to rock the various agreements FAAN entered with the concessionaires which here become an international embarrassment to Nigerians who have foreign business partners.
Were the FAAN legal department officials and ministry of aviation officials who represented government at the signing of the FAAN/Bi-Courtney agreement then, under duress or did they not study the agreement before appending their signatures?
These questions and many more deserve to be answered by those who signed the agreement and why FAAN should shift the goal post at the middle of a game or could it be that they don’t understand what it is to keep to an agreement in a business which involve billions of Naira?
The implications of these bad transactions is that Nigeria is speedily having credibility image before foreign investors with even local ones skeptical of investing their finances here to avoid experiencing what Bi-Courtney and other concessionaires are experiencing with the huge fortunes they have invested in the sector going down the drain under funny excuses which could have been resolved seamlessly.
It is on this premise that the Crucial Moment is welcoming the latest intervention of the Senator Ben Murray-Bruce led committee on privatization to not only look into why FAAN does not like to honour agreements, but subsequently resolve the controversies finally.
Ability to resolve the lingering crisis will not only bring fairness to Bi-Courtney and the rest aggrieved concessionaires but remove the burden of credibility brought upon government by the bad deals.
B-Courtney has paid its due being the first PPP entity in the sector and therefore, there is no point for FAAN to throw out the baby with the bath water over flimsy excuses.
Obviously, the aggrieved concessionaires should be treated fairly for their patriotism while those who signed the deals should be called to give account as this will force people in positions of decision making to be more responsible.