The continuous encroachment on the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) areas by private developers with the latest attempt to control and manage the two airport intercity roads that drive from the city into the domestic and international terminals by the Lagos State government has been generating debates.
The latest debate centered on the planned tolling of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) intercity roads by the Lagos State Government has been described as a unilateral exploitation of FAAN rights in the resources or facilities under its management and for business development in the airport.
Reacting to the attempt, a former Military Commandant of the Lagos airport, Group Captain John Ojikutu, (retired) argued that the approval for ceding such right of federal infrastructure to any state or local government could not have been given by an official that has clear knowledge and understanding of civil aviation infrastructure management and regulations.
According to Ojikutu, the Lagos airport like the 22 other Airports in the country is a federal airport with its aeronautical and non-aeronautical infrastructure owned by the Federal Government and should not be compared with those of states and private airports like Asaba, Uyo and similar airports.
“If true, it may snowball into another conflict of interest when the airports are eventually given out in concession to private companies. Ceding Federal airport intercity roads to States Governments (for tolling) would need a serious rethinking, otherwise, there would be conflict of financial interest and conflicts of authority in the management of security in the airports where states are not known to adhere to Civil Aviation Act (CAA), The Civil Aviation Regulation (CARs) and the Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP). It is important to note that almost all the federal airports service roads and intercity roads nationwide are drawn directly into and terminating into the airport terminals from major federal roads.”
Ojikutu said if Lagos State Government was desirous of improving its revenue earnings on roads by tolling, that the federal airport intercity roads should not be where to start or to focus on.
His words: “There are many federal roads in Lagos where the state can toll and generate substantial revenue than to infringe on the rights of FAAN authority to toll the airport intercity roads. This intrusion of state government into the FG premises could complicate the management of the airport security from the roads. Lagos government can alternatively explore the ceding of the following federal roads to it from the FG for improved revenue generation: Lagos-Badagry Express Road, Lagos-Ikorodu Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Express Road and Apapa-Oshodi Express Road,. These roads have more traffic than the airport road but would need more attention for repair and maintenance from the Lagos government. At four tollgates each on these roads, it is possible for the state government to generate N72 billion yearly, N6 billion monthly or N200 million daily from the over two million vehicles movements daily each paying N100 only.
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