21st June, 2013
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has reclaimed a parcel of land at the Lagos airport which was concessioned to AIC Limited for the construction of a hotel complex and a multi-storey car park, authorities said on Thursday.
FAAN took possession of the land a day after a court ruled in their favour following a legal battle that has lasted 18 years.
“By this judgement, the parcel of land in question has become free for massive infrastructural development at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, under the aerotropolis project, including an ultramodern hotel complex, a multi-storey car park and other related projects, designed to expand facilities at the airport,” said Yabuku Dati, FAAN spokesperson.
On 1 June, 2010, an arbitration court awarded AIC, a company owned by Lagos businessman, Harry Akande, the sum of 48 million dollars following years of legal battle with FAAN.
But FAAN refused to comply with the ruling and filed an application at the Federal High Court challenging the judgement even as it continued to prevent AIC from developing the land.
As years passed and unable to complete the project, AIC Limited filed two suits on the matter, praying among other things that the arbitration be enforced.
But on Wednesday, Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos ruled that the Arbitration tribunal, which had awarded AIC Limited the sum of $48,124, 000, miss-conducted itself and went outside its jurisdiction in rendering the final award between the parties on 1 June 2010. He declared the final award null and void and thereby set it aside.
On Friday, AIC approached the Appellate Court to file an appeal against the Federal High Court ruling.
“We are at the Appeal Court right now to file an appeal against the ruling and to seek an injunction restraining FAAN from taking any action on our land,” said Niyi Akande, son of Harry Akande, the owner of AIC Limited.
Akande said the Federal High Court ruling did not return the land back to FAAN as claimed by the agency but only set aside the award of the Arbitration Court.