Court grants Bi-Courtney right to take over Lagos airport terminal, as FAAN loses bid to stop it

Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos

In his ruling, Justice Buba held that FAAN failed to comply with the condition that dispute between it and Bi-Courtney must be referred to the Co-ordinating Committee before commencing the suit

The application by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, seeking to stop Bi-Courtney Group from taking over the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, MMA2, Lagos, suffered a setback, as the Federal High Court, Lagos, ruled in favour of the firm.

Justice I.N. Buba struck out FAAN’s application seeking to restrain Bi-Courtney from taking possession of the GAT, despite the Appeal Court judgment, which affirmed Bi-Courtney’s ownership of the terminal.

FAAN had filed the application on December 5, 2011, seeking several reliefs against Bi-Courtney in respect of the use and operation of the airpot terminal based on a concession agreement executed between it and the Federal Government.

Although FAAN’s ex parte application to restrain Bi-Courtney was granted by the court on December 6, 2011, an application by the concessionnaire seeking an order of court to set aside the order was granted in a ruling delivered on February 27, 2012.

Consequently, Bi-Courtney, in a Notice of Preliminary Objection dated April 10, 2012, had asked that the order of court be struck out for failure to fulfil certain conditions contained in the concession agreement between the parties, or the suit be dismissed for being an abuse of court process.

Bi-Courtney had argued that FAAN instituted the action without consideration to the dispute resolution mechanism provided for in the concession, which demands that disputes arising from the agreement must first be referred to the Co-ordinating Committee for resolution.

Bi-Courtney also alleged that the suit was an abuse of court process, as reliefs sought were substantially the same as those already determined by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.

In his ruling, Justice Buba held that FAAN failed to comply with the condition that the dispute must be referred to the Co-ordinating Committee before commencing the suit in accordance with the terms of the Concession Agreement.

The court, however, refused the relief sought to dismiss the suit on the ground that it was already declared incompetent.

The issue of the ownership of the GAT has been a subject of numerous litigations, including five appeals, all of which have been decided in favour of Bi-Courtney, the most recent being the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which affirmed the company’s ownership of the disputed terminal.

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