N33m Debt: FAAN Threatens Security, Fire Services Withdrawal At Kebbi Airport


Except for a last minute intervention, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) may shutdown Kebbi Airport today over unpaid N33 million debt.

Kebbi Airport is one of the state owned aerodromes in the country and activities have been low at the airport since inception.

It was learnt that efforts made by the management of FAAN to recover the debts in the last few years had failed as the State Government refused to pay the debt or reconcile the debt with the agency despite series of correspondences to the government by the former.

Besides, a source close to the agency confided in our correspondent over the weekend that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) was already making arrangements to issue a Notice To Air Men (NOTAM) to all airlines flying into the airport from midnight Monday when FAAN was expected to withdraw its services at the airport.

The strong confided in our correspondent that FAAN would on Monday, withdraw its fire service and security personnel from the airport.

The source said: “We are closing down the Kebbi Airport by 12 midnight Monday, they are indebted to us and we have written so many letters to the governor and there was no response and NAMA has already issued a NOTAM on Friday to inform all airlines flying into the airport to keep off.

“We have decided to take this step as the last resort after all other overtures to make the concerned agencies abide by their part of the bargain but to no avail.

“Please, note that the Federal Airports Authority is also a business concern. The days of financing airports projects and maintenance by the Federal Government are far gone.

“As the general public, airlines and passengers continue to clamour for improved services at our airports, it is only reasonable that we also prevail on those on the other side to also fulfill their own part of the bargain for a prosperous and mutually beneficial industry.”

A similar scenario occurred in 2019 when the State Government had to rush to pay FAAN after it threatened to close the airport over N124.6 million debt.

Barely two years ago, the agency had threatened to withdrawal its services in some state-owned airports over N2.6 billion debt.

The warning came after an earlier notice was issued in December 2018 to private and state-owned aerodromes, though was later suspended due to public outcry.

The services in question, according to experts, are safety critical without, which no airport can process flights.

Among the facilities earlier targeted by FAAN then were the Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal in Lagos, Gombe Airport, Gombe, Osubi Airport in Warri, Delta State and Kebbi airport, Kebbi State, all estimated to allegedly owe the sum of N2.608 billion.

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It was learnt then that Gombe Airport for instance was indebted to the tune of N607.3 million, while Kebbi owes N124.6 million as at September 10, 2018.

FAAN had said: “The authority shall be constrained to commence the implementation of sanctions at the expiration of this notice, if the organisations fail or refuse to pay up as advised. In view of this, the AuGivenreby notifies private airport operators that the services of our Aviation Security and Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting personnel will no longer be available for the operations of their airports with effect from Wednesday May 1, 2019 as the Aut, authority can n,o longer keep this personnel at the airports working without payment.”

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