Concession of the airports: Reflecting on Bi-Courtney experience

 By Rufai Oseni 

The challenges of doing business in Nigeria is really daunting and damaging sometimes. These problems are akin to the Ernst Stavro Blofeld looking for the jugulars of James Bond and that has become the story of doing business in Nigeria under different regimes. It seems to me that being an innovator doesn’t count for anything anymore.

 When I recently saw the advertisement for a concession of the airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano, I had to cast my mind back to Bi-Courtney and how the concessions given to the company was breached on all counts by the federal government and the politicization that goes through that process.

The new advertisement is shocking because I am aware that Bi-Courtney had won in several legal ripples that emerged from the concession. I am aware that a Federal high court on the 3rd of March 2009 granted the relief sought by Bi-Courtney against the Federal Government of Nigeria. Also on the 11th February 2010 the Court of Appeal, Abuja dismissed the application of leave by Ojemaie investments on the prior judgment. Also Arik’s Air intervention was dismissed by a federal high court on the 15th November 2010. Also FAAN’s application for leave on the same matter was dismissed on the 8th July 2011.

The legal battle also culminated in the dismissal of the Attorney General’s appeal against the judgement of March 3rd 2009 on the 13th June 2012 and a ruling by the Supreme Court which also dismissed an application by Ojemaie Investment Limited seeking to restrain the handover of the General Aviation Terminal to Bi-Courtney. After all these reliefs granted by the court and then an advertisement is made for concession for Lagos Airport, is it that Bi-Courtney doesn’t matter in all of this? Is it also the case that court judgements do not matter in this country?

We have a penchant of termination of contracts abruptly hence our recent debacle as a country. In all of this I would like to ask if the Ministry of Aviation has made peace with Bi-Courtney and paid all the entitlements.

In my musing I ponder deeply on what might be the case with the Lagos-Ibadan expressway that we have now spent over seven times the initial investment cost, also initial concessions to Bi-Courtney.

We need to be more transparent in our dealing as a country if we must develop.