Bi-Courtney to manage MMA2 for 36 years — Babalakin
THE lingering confusion over the duration Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), managers of the private terminal otherwise known as MMA2 located at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, is expected to manage the terminal before returning it to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), may have finally been clarified.
Addressing the media on the lingering issue, the Chairman of BASL, Dr Wale Babalakin, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), revealed how the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua at an intervention meeting he held with all stakeholders in attendance backed 36 years for Bicourtney to manage the terminal on a Public Private Partnership basis.
According to Babalakin, Yar’Adua at the meeting gave the approval for the 36 years having discovered that the agreement on the period had already been signed by all relevant parties based on the exigencies that cropped up as explained by the concessionaire which subsequently nullified the early 12 years agreement.
The late Yar’adua when told that the 36 years agreed upon was signed by all parties therein, declared in the presence of officials of FAAN including their legal representatives, then Secretary to Government of the federation, former minister of aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, officials of Bicourtney and other relevant representatives of government that the 36 years must prevail.
Babalakin said for the fact that the late Yar’adua gave the approval without objection at the meeting made the 36 years duration binding even as insisted that the minutes of what transpired at the meeting could be called for by anyone still doubting.
Nigerian Tribune cited a copy of the agreement confirming the 36 years approved as the final number of years to manage the project.
The legal luminary therefore, described anyone flying different documents apart from the one backed by late Yar’Adua as mischievous and should be ignored.
He equally used the opportunity to lament how the controversy the concession agreement had generated had made him lose opportunities to run similar projects in three other countries.
The learned personality explained how he avoided the invitations from the countries on the premise that he might not enjoy the support of the Nigerian government if need be in view of the bad way he was treated.
Though Babalakin declined to mention the countries that had engaged his firm in airport infrastructure development, he however stated that the company had the capability to invest in infrastructure in any part of the world.
He equally expressed the desire to take part in the planned concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, and Kano airports under the concession agenda of the Federal Government.
“I think it will be better to consult those who have track records. Before MMA2, nobody talked about terminals but after the completion of MMA2, Bauchi, Dutse now have terminals and I think Anambra State is planning to have one. We have succeeded immensely as an eye-opener to aviation infrastructure development in Nigeria,” he said.
He urged that his company be given the right of the first offer in the bidding because the BASL has shown expertise and has excelled in infrastructure development going by its track record in airports infrastructure provision.
Already, he said the efficiency in the way the terminal was being managed has attracted even airlines that have their operational base at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), known as domestic airport terminal 1 (MMA1) as they have routed some of their flights from MMA2.
Lamenting how he said the Nigerian authorities refused to release the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) which formed part of the concession agreement ab initio to it, Babalakin declared: “There is a bid going on for the four international terminals, In other climes, the authorities will call on those who have done it before. But what is the success rate of the companies coming to Nigeria to operate? How can government bring expertise from overseas when you have them locally?
”BASL is interested in anything that is intellectual infrastructure development. I am a lawyer and an infrastructure developer, we are interested in the concession, in fact, we should be the first option because, in very organised countries, we would be given a first option offer. And maybe, our participation will make the process a fair one”, he said.
“The GAT was handed over to us by the government but it at the same time, decided to enhance it and compete with us. The worse that can happen to an investor is for your competitor to have government money to compete and it is totally wrong for the authority to be competing in the same sphere.”
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