Legal fireworks have begun between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and one of its major concessionaires, I-Cube West Africa over the termination of the former’s concession deal through the back door.
I-Cube West Africa was contracted ten years to manage the very lucrative Murtala Muhammed Airport Access toll gates. The toll gates are one of the major non-aeronautical revenue earners for the agency.
This is coming as the concessionaire in a press briefing accused FAAN of violating a court injunction that asked the warring parties to maintain status quo ante belum as some of the unions acting on FAAN’s directive stormed the premises of the concessionaire to vandalise its properties and cut off electricity and water sources to the facilities in a bid to force the firm out of the area.
In a suit filed in the Federal High Court, Lagos with suit No: FHC/L/CS/2364/2019, the court ruled that, ‘the claimant (Rose Pine Integrated Limited) and FAAN and Integrated Intelligent Imaging West (Defendants) in the suit are hereby directed to maintain status quo ante bellem”.
The court also announced February 28 for the hearing of pending applications.
Counsel to I-Cube West Africa, Charles Ebhoman accuse FAAN of resorting to self-help by disobeying court order that he claimed is synonymous to institutions of the government that have constantly disobeyed court rulings.
Ebhoman said they were compelled to call a press conference because of the incident of Thursday where FAAN despite the suit still resorted to self-help, vandalized property of I-Cube.
His words, “On February 13, 2020, my client got a letter from FAAN saying they should remove all their containers and properties within this vicinity on or before Feb 14, 2020. Upon the receipt of that letter, we immediately did a letter to the author of that letter, Mrs Victoria Shin-Aba who happens to be the Regional General Manager, South West of FAAN”.
“We did the letter to her to let her know that ours is a society that is regulated by law. People do not have the right to take the law into their own hands. We wrote her and copied the Judge that is handling the matter. We copied the Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, we copied Joel Ololo who is the counsel to FAAN. We also copied the Managing Director of FAAN, we copied the director legal services. We have the acknowledgement of that letter from all of them”.
“On February 18, 2020, we were in court. We brought this to their attention of the court that despite the order, FAAN had gone ahead about the whole issue as if nothing has happened. After argument by counsel, the court ordered that parties should maintain the status quo. Even though counsel to FAAN was in court and was aware of that order, we still took it upon ourselves that to say it in court”.
He, however, expressed shock on Thursday that despite the existence of the order, which has been duly served, agents of FAAN, whom he said were the unions came to the premises of the firm vandalized their properties in the bid of wanting to take possession of the properties belonging to I-Cube.