Litigation may stall airports concession as three foreign firms ‘violate’ rules

  • Falana writes Minister, calls for firms’ disqualification to save process

A legal firm, Falana and Falana’s Chambers has petitioned the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to disqualify TAV Consortium, GMR Consortium, and Airport De Paris (ADP), three of the bidders for the concession of the nation’s four major airports for alleged violation of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act 2005 and The National Policy on Public-Private Partnership (N4P).

The four major airports slated for concession are those of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Lagos, Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and the Port-Harcourt International, Port-Harcourt.

In a letter to Sirika dated November 3, 2021, entitled, “Request To Disqualify TAV Consortium, GMR Consortium, and ADP”, and signed by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the law firm which prides itself as a firm of legal practitioners dedicated to the defense of Human Rights as well as the promotion of the Rule of Law and public accountability in Nigeria, said they have confirmed that two consortia owned by ADP submitted an expression of interest.

 

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

 Falana disclosed that the first consortium was led by TAV Airport Holding (where ADP owns 49%) and the Second submission was done by GMR Airports Limited (Where ADP owns 46%).

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 Contrary to the misleading impression that both TAV and GMR are separate entities, he said a search on the Internet has revealed that ADP owns 46% of GMR and 49% of TAV.

Having contravened the Requests for Qualification (RFO) without any legal basis whatsoever, he noted that the TAV-led consortium and the GMR submission, as well as ADP as a standalone party, should be disqualified from participation in the tender or joining any group in the future after Pre Qualifications results are announced.

According to the Letter, “We are a firm of Legal Practitioners dedicated to the defense of Human Rights as well as the promotion of the Rule of Law and Public Accountability in Nigeria. Our attention has been drawn to the public notice published by the Ministry of Aviation sometime in August 2021 wherein Requests for Qualification (RFO) were invited for the Concession of four Airport Terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano in accordance with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act 2005 and The National Policy on Public-Private Partnership (N4P).”

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“It is pertinent to note that it is expressly stated in Section 2.2 of the RFQ that no applicant single or a consortium can be part of more than one bid. Section 2.2.3 is further clarifying that the eligibility shall apply to an applicant and/or to the parties consisting of the applicant i.e shareholders”.

“It is hoped that you will accede to our request to avoid any litigation over the proposed concession of the four airports terminals.”.

The concession of four major airports in Nigeria is said to be moving rapidly as the Ministry of Aviation, in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (establishment, etc.) Act, 2005, and global best practice on October 25, 2021, concluded the Request For Qualification (RFQ).

 

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika

Sirika disclosed that the amount of response to the request for pre-qualification by highly reputable international airport operators across the globe is indicative of the level of confidence that people have in our concession programme, and,  by extension, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The four major airports slated for concession are the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, and the Port-Harcourt International Airport, Port-Harcourt.

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He hinted that the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) phase of the Nigeria Airport Concessions programme (NACP) came to a close at 15:00HRS Local Time (Nigeria), October 25th, 2021, stressing that the deadline, announced on September 13, 2021, after close deliberations with ICRC and the transaction advisers, allowed for a four-week extension in response to numerous requests from would-be bidders.

Consequently, the Ministry of Aviation, the Transaction Advisers, and the Project Steering Committee have duly notified the ICRC of the milestone, and have now stopped receiving submissions in response to the published RFQ according to the Minister.

His words, “Like we promised from the onset, we remain committed to ensuring the highest level of transparency and accountability till the end of the process. This is because we believe that the programme is in the best interest of Nigerians as a people, and Nigeria as a nation”.

Wole Shadare