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Aviation workers’ unions on Monday took over the collection of tolls at the access gate of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, from a concessionaire, Integrated Intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited (ICUBE).

The development caused unease for a number of airport users as members of the unions stormed the access gate as early as 7 am to chase away officials of the concessionaire. They were promptly replaced with officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The concessionaire’s contract expired last year, a source told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.

The unions, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and National Association of Air Transport Pilots and Employees (NAAPE) also faulted the monthly remittance made by the company.

According to the unions, the concession’s remittance was “meagre” compared to the traffic generated at the airport gates, daily.

The General Secretary of ANAP, Abdulrasaq Saidu, alleged that the concession of the access gate had not been reviewed for a long time, despite the changing dynamics in the operations of the airport over the years.

He claimed that meetings had been held with the aviation minister in the past, with union members complaining about the situation of things and remittances at the airport gates.

A statement by FAAN’s spokesperson, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed that the take-over followed the expiration of the contract agreement to manage the Murtala Muhammed International Airport access gate between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and I-Cube West Africa Limited.

Mrs Yakubu explained that “the unions dislodged the concessionaire and took over the facility unilaterally at about 7 a.m. today February 3, 2019.”

Reacting to the takeover, the manager of the concessionaire, Toluwaleke Abajingin, expressed surprise over the unions’ actions. He claimed that the case was in court and it involves one Rosepine Integrated limited, FAAN and ICUBE.

He explained, however, that ICUBE staff did not resist the take-over, adding that the company has been paying FAAN the necessary remittances but were never informed about any upward review of the contract or otherwise.

Mrs Yakubu, on her part, said that the management would look into the crisis.

“However,” she said, “the management of FAAN is working to address the matter and find a lasting solution to the imbroglio.”

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