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Published On: Wed, Mar 3rd, 2021

Osubi Airport, Warri Owes NAMA, FAAN A Billions Of Naira


LAGOS MARCH 3RD (URHOBOTODAY)-It can be reported that the managers of Osubi Airport, a private terminal in Warri, Delta State, still owe aviation agencies several billions of naira from services ren¬dered to them by the para¬statals.
This is as a source close to the Ministry of Aviation on Tuesday confided in Daily Independent that the airport, which has been taken over by the Nigerian National Petro¬leum Corporation (NNPC), still owes the Nigerian Air¬space Management Agency (NAMA), for instance, about N864 million despite the withdrawal of services by the agency over a year ago.
NAMA provides air traffic services to the airport.
Also, it was gathered that the former managers of the airport still owe the Federal Airports Authority of Nige¬ria (FAAN) about N1 billion for the provision of securi¬ty, aerodrome rescue and fire-fighting services over the years.
The source, however, told Daily Independent that NNPC had already reached a gentleman’s agreement with aviation agencies to pay back the debts, but as at the time of filing this report, the cor¬poration was yet to pay back the debts.
Also, it was gathered that aviation agencies were mak¬ing frantic efforts to return to the airport after about a year of withdrawal of services.
The source said: “I can tell you that they still owe avia¬tion agencies some billions of naira for services rendered to them.
“For instance, the manag¬ers of the airport, as of last Friday, owe NAMA about N864 million for the services rendered.
NNPC said it is taking over the airport and would pay the debts they owe us.
“I believe they are part-owners of the airport. NNPC has a gentleman agree¬ment with us, which prompt¬ed us to want to go back to the airport.
“Currently, we are working out the modalities of return¬ing to the airport.”
Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Corpo¬rate Communications, FAAN, confirmed to Daily Indepen¬dent that the managers of the airport were yet to remit their debt to the agency, but said both parties had reached an agreement on mode of repay¬ment.
“No, they haven’t paid. We are making plans to get the money back.
“I don’t have the record on the actual amount of money they owe us, but we are mak¬ing efforts to get the money from them,” she said.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Min¬ister of Aviation, in his Twit¬ter handle on Monday night, revealed that he had approved the reopening of the airport for flight services for daylight operations.
According to him, the facility would be opened for operations in daylight in Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, while observing COVID-19 protocols.
He tweeted: “I have just ap¬proved the reopening of Osu¬bi Airport, Warri, for daylight operations in Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, sub¬ject to all procedures, prac¬tices and protocols, includ¬ing COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be a need for local approvals henceforth.”
Besides, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State told some aviation journalists last week in Asaba that the state had concluded arrangements for the reopening of the air¬port despite it being a private terminal.
Okowa said the state gov¬ernment made personal inter¬ventions which led to the re¬opening of the airport by the Federal Government, stress¬ing that FAAN had made a commitment to resume op-erations at the airport in the shortest possible time.
Okowa assured that the state government would sup¬port the airport with some logistics, particularly in the area of COVID-19 protocols, adding that United Nigeria Airways, the latest entrant to the airline sub-sector, would join other airlines to fly the route.
He added: “We were told they will return to the air¬port in about two weeks (next week).
“I am relieved that the hardship which the closure had inflicted on our people and businesses is about to end.
“We will work closely with FAAN to ensure that the tar¬get date is met.
“In fact, I am pleased that the authority’s General Man¬ager, Operations, Mrs. Ola¬jumoke Oni, is here with us.
“We thank you and your people for accepting to reopen the airport.
“The state government is going to support the resump¬tion process with some logis¬tics, particularly in the area of COVID-19 protocols, even though the airport is not a property of the state.”
Recall that Osubi Airport was in the news for the wrong reasons in the past three years.
Just last February, Pres¬ident Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the termi¬nation of the contractual agreement between the gov¬ernment and Shoreline Oil Services Limited as the oper-ator of the Osubi airport.
An internal memo signed on behalf of Sen. Hadi Siri¬ka, Minister of Aviation, by T. Alkali, Director, Safety and Technical Policy, Ministry of Aviation, dated February 7, 2020, and made available to Daily Independent then, said that the takeover was with immediate effect.
The memo, which was ad¬dressed to the four chief exec¬utive officers of the aviation agencies – FAAN, NAMA, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Au¬thority (NCAA), and the Nige¬rian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) – also approved the engagement of Sirika as the minister in the sector to take over the management of the airport by NNPC.
Daily Independent

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