The Edo State government has banned flights into the Benin Airport due to what it called failure of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (Faan) to remit tenement rates to the state government for several years now.
The situation left hundreds of passengers stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, (MMA), Lagos, with airlines like Aero and Arik Air, which carry out daily operations to the airport, cancelling their flights while their passengers who had hitherto hoped to fly out of Lagos could not do so.
Although the exact time of closure of the airport could not be ascertained, the state government was said to have frowned at the inability of Faan to also remit workers’ taxes to its coffers as at when due.
Comrade Abdulkareem Motajo, general secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (Nuate), said by the act setting up the agency, Faan was not liable to pay any tax to any state government.
He, however, said the problem that brought about the closure of the airport would not have started today, saying that correspondences would have exchanged hands between the two parties. “I want to believe there were some correspondences between Faan and Edo State Government and at such instance, one would have expected that the issue would have been ironed out amicably,” he said. “Nevertheless, closing down of the airport by the state government thereby inconveniencing the passengers is totally wrong. However, we are not privy to what has happened between both parties.”
Mr. Yakubu Dati, general manager, corporate communications of Faan, said the state government shut the airport because of tenement rates, stating however that Article 25 of the act establishing Faan exempted it from such payments.
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