THE ongoing war between Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over various issues took a new dimension yesterday as the authority embarked on the destruction of outdoor adverts placed by the Dr Wale Babalakin company at the Lagos local airport.
BASL claimed that FAAN took laws into its hands and destroyed the adverts without prior notification.
But FAAN swiftly explained that it embarked on an exercise to get rid of all illegal adverts both indoor and outdoor placed within the airport environments.
Speaking through its spokesperson, Yakubu Dati, it insisted that FAAN as the landlord of the airport environments had the right to get rid of any illegal structures placed within its premises.
The outdoor adverts destroyed according to BASL were those placed on the disputed ongoing airport hotel project and the link bridge between the terminal and the hotel.
BASL accused FAAN of wilfully disobeying court order.
BASL warned that the continuous flagrant disobedience to the rules of law would not augur well for the industry in particular and the nation at large.
Briefing journalists yesterday on the development at its headquarters, the Head of Litigation, BASL, Mr. Tola Oshobi emphasized that the Federal High Court, Ikeja Division in its judgment had told FAAN that it had no power to destroy any of its properties.
“In a comprehensive judgment delivered by Hon. Justice Stephen Jonah Adah, the court decided that under the agreement, FAAN had no right whatsoever to take laws into its hands. If there are any dispute between FAAN and Bi-Courtney, this dispute must be resolved by arbitration in accordance with Article 22 of the concession agreement.
“In 2009, the Federal High Court sitting at Abuja ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria and FAAN to hand over the General Aviation Terminal to Bi-Courtney in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/50/2009 delivered on Tuesday 3rd March, 2009. There have been four appeals against this judgment all resolved in favour of Bi-Courtney.”
Oshobi noted that BASL had reported the destruction of its outdoor adverts to the Nigerian Police and other necessary security agencies while the court would be notified soon on the action of the agency.
He insisted that the concessionaire under the agreements it entered into with the Government had the right to place adverts within its properties, stressing that Governments all over the world has the obligation to comply with their own laws.
He decried that BASL was a victim at the moment and predicted that there would be several other victims in the future.
He challenged Bi-Courtney to visit the court of arbitration if it was not satisfied with its step.
He, however, added that the removal of all “illegal adverts” within the airport was not only targeted at BASL, but at all advert agencies operating illegally at the airport.
Dati said the exercise would continue nationwide and would soon move to other airports in the country.
“The placement of such advert material infringed on advertisement rights of FAAN, since the company or organisation responsible for the placing of the advert material did not receive FAAN’s permission to do so.
“The exercise to remove all illegal advertisements at all airports was informed by the fact that the companies that have advert concession with FAAN have all refused to honour the terms of agreement for the concession, and in defiance, have continued to collect money from third party companies for advert placement without paying its due,” he added.