The concessionaire in charge of the collection of fare at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos access gate, has alleged that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) violated court orders and used union members to manhandle its staff.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, over the weekend, the legal counsel of the company, Charles Ebhoman, said I-Cube was compelled to address the issue after members of the aviation unions cut off water and light supply within the company’s office premises and allegedly harassed its staff in a bid to force the organization out, thus repudiating the court decision that urged both parties to maintain the status quo.
Ebboman explained that one year after the contract for the control of the access gates expired, FAAN wrote a letter to the management of I-Cube, asking it to vacate the premises but the company took the agency to court, accusing it of breaching the contract which gave it the right of first refusal.
The Federal High Court, Ikoyi, gave an injunction on February 19, 2020, that the status quo be maintained, FAAN is yet to comply.
“We are compelled to address the issue because of what happened on Thursday, February 20, at the company premises at the toll gate despite the fact the issue of the control of the access gates is currently before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.
“On February 13, I-Cube got a letter from FAAN stating that they should remove all their properties within the access gate on or before February 14. Upon receipt of that letter, we immediately wrote a letter to the author who is the regional general manager, South West of FAAN. We let her know that they do not have the right to take laws into their hands.
“We copied the judge who is handling the matter, the commissioner of police, airport command, we copied the counsel to FAAN, the Managing Director and the Director of Legal services and we have the acknowledgment of that letter from all of them,” the Counsel said.
Speaking on behalf of the unions, the President of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mr. Ben Nnebue, said I-CUBE’s contract had expired before FAAN wrote to the company after one year of grace in which it continued to operate at the Access gate, alleging that “I-CUBE refused to leave the facility on expiration and won’t submit itself for a review, this lingered for another one year. During this period, without interruption, I-CUBE continues exploiting the Access Gate whose potential has continued to soar exponentially, whiles ignoring FAAN’s rising expenditure.
The union urged all investors doing business or intending to do business with FAAN going forward, to abide by contract terms and agreements in the national interest, saying that a shortchanging government shall not be tolerated.