Yet again crisis between Bi Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) erupted last Wednesday when the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. Yakudbu Dati, was allegedly stopped from driving off with his car on his arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport domestic terminal (MMA2) by the Chief Executive Officer of BASL, Mr. Christopher Penninck.
Dati said when he arrived at the airport terminal, he went to the official car park where he parked his Toyota Corolla with registration number, FG 705 A42 but as his driver was about to drive off, Penninck allegedly ordered thugs to stop him and almost seized his phone.
“On July 17, 2013, at 4.45pm, Bi Courtney CEO, Mr. Penninck personally led thugs to block the car conveying me out of the MMA2 official car park. He offered no explanation as he made frantic phone calls. Sensing danger, I took pictures of the scene and he sent thugs to forcefully take my phone. It took the intervention of the police officer on duty to rescue me. The police removed the barricade and allowed my car to drive off,” Dati said.
He also alleged that the Bi Courtney CEO threatened that he would deal with him, adding, “What surprised me was that other cars with FG registration numbers, same as mine, were neither harassed nor molested but given free access. In fact, our director of legal that arrived with me was allowed to leave.”
But the spokesman of BASL, Steve Omolale-Ajulo, said Dati had parked his car at an area prohibited for parking and as the BASL CEO was going round on inspection, he saw the car parked at the wrong area and asked those in charge why the car was parked there and directed them to move the car.
Dati was said to have started taking the photograph of Pinninck who protested against the photograph, saying he must have to seek his consent before taking him personal photographs.
Omolale-Ajulo also asked whether Dati had reported the matter to the police if actually he was molested as alleged, adding that what happened was not a serious matter to attract such reaction.
In the last few weeks FAAN and Bi Courtney officials have recorded similar face-offs over the placement of billboards at the uncompleted hotel project BASL is building opposite MMA2, a structure that is strategically located at the link road to the international terminal of the airport.
Bi Courtney placed the billboards, but FAAN officials removed them, saying the concessionaire, which built and is operating the MMA2 on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement, did not have the right to place advert billboards on the building which had ceased to belong to the organisation. Besides, FAAN also argued that it has the control of all the advert placements at the airport and should be consulted before any billboard could be placed.