Key players bemoan encroachment on airport lands

STAKEHOLDERS across the aviation sector have expressed concern over the alleged incessant encroachment and acquisition of the Murtala Mohammed Airport land in Ikeja.

While several acres of the land belonging to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have been encroached upon with houses, offices built on the land, others have been used as farm land.

The encroachment was however said to have been made easy with the connivance of some top FAAN officials.

Few years ago, during the assessment of the encroachment by a special task force set up by the federal government, it was discovered that individuals, including aviators converted and built houses on the airport land in Shasha, Akowonjo, Ejigbo, Ile Zik, among others in connivance with insiders in FAAN.

The last week physical building inspection and regulations carried out by a group of officials of the Lagos State government has led to the sealing up of properties within the FAAN immediate corridor.

Commenting on the development, Chairman, FAAN branch of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Ahmed Danjuma, said land encroachment had been a problem to FAAN.

According to him, the business owners pay rents, signed an MoU with FAAN to do business in the area hence, he called on FAAN to protect its interest and secure its land from being taken over even as he argued that the Lagos State government had no right to collect revenue on property owned by FAAN.

Commenting on the issue, a former militarily airport commandant, Group Captain John Ojikutu, retired, noted that over the years, the airport in Lagos State in particular had been known to be situated within uncontrolled urban development areas of Ikeja, Oshodi, Mafoluku, Akowonjo Egbeda, Shasha, Ejigbo, Ajao Estate, Beesam, among others and further, sandwiched between complicated road networks connecting these areas is threatened by the activities of the state and local governments.

“The locations of some of these houses have also encroached beyond the limit provided for the security and safety margin for the airport operation by global standards and the National Civil Aviation Regulations”

Speaking, the image maker of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, explained that the land in question was purchased by the Federal Government and belongs to the federal government saying that what Lagos state government was doing was an aberration.

Yakubu said the Directors of Commercial and Business Development and Finance and Legal Services (DCBD DFA CS/LS) were already meeting with Lagos State government, adding that FAAN has not increased land rates.

“FG owns it. What Lagos State Government is doing is actually an aberration but nevertheless DCBD DFA CS/LS are meeting with the State government to arrive at an amicable arrangement. We are also not increasing land rates for now.”

Within the year, Fag­bemi explained that the group expended resources into re-fle­eting, which produced immediate result as the company was ab­le to provide a more efficient service, reduced degreasing and cost of maintenan­ce.



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