The last appears not to have been heard of the concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, as one of the bidders, Sifax Group of Companies Limited, has filed a suit seeking disqualification of two preferred bidders.
Sifax Group, The Guardian learnt, approached a Federal High Court in Lagos to disqualify two French firms, Tav Airports Holding Company and GMR Airport Limited.
Sifax stated that both firms, owned by the same company, Airport De Paris (ADP), submitted separate bids for MMIA and were shortlisted for the next phase of the concession – contrary to the rules.
Recall that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had recently announced the preferred and reserved bidders for the concession of three major airports – Lagos, Abuja and Kano.
Tav/NAHCO Project Planet Limited emerged as preferred bidder for MMIA in Lagos, with Sifax/Changi Consortium emerging as selected reserve bidder.
Sifax, in its submission to the court, contended that Tav Airports Holding Company breached the specific precept of the Request for Qualification (RFQ), which states that no applicant is entitled to bid for any of the specific Assets twice under any guise or form.
The plaintiff, therefore, sued the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Minister of Aviation, NAHCO Aviance Plc, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Tav Airports Holding and GMR Airport, as the first to seventh defendants.
The move to concession the Lagos Airport has not been spared of controversies. Recall that in a letter dated November 3, 2021, addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Femi Falana (SAN) had advised the Minister to disqualify three firms, TAV Consortium, GMR Consortium and ADP for violating the requests for qualification (RFO) process.
According to him, two consortium owned by ADP Airport De Paris submitted expression of interest in a public notice published by the Ministry of Aviation in August 2021, but noted that the first consortium led by TAV Airport Holding, ADP owns 49 per cent of its shares, while the second submission done by GMR Airports Limited, ADP also owns 46 per cent of the company’s shares.
Falana noted that contrary to the misleading impression that both TAV and GMR were separate entities, an Internet search by the law firm revealed that ADP owns 46 percent of GMR and 49 per cent of TAV.
SIMILARLY, aviation workers’ unions have registered their displeasure against the Federal Government’s plan top concession four major international airports, coupled with the new agenda to demolish aviation agencies’ offices in Lagos.
The workers, under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), said details of the concession plan have shown it as self-serving and anti-Nigeria.
The union’s pushback was in response to government’s disclosure that the former headquarters of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) offices would be demolished to pave way for the proposed airport city as part of the concession plan for Lagos.