Investors in the aviation sub sector are seeking easier access to land for aviation-related investments and have asked the House of Representatives to enact laws that would provide for an enabling environment for investment.
This is just as Chuks Izuogor, a representative of some airlines has sought the intervention of the House to redraft Clause 28 of the Bill of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which empowers the minister to by declaration compulsorily take over land stating that it is contradictory to Section 28 of the Land Use Act.
Investors including former Senator Musa Adede and Chairman Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema explained the difficult and time consuming process to get land for aviation related investments stressing that the cost too is not beneficial to investors especially with regards the duration of land ownership.
Senator Adede said,” Mr. Chairman it is only in Nigeria for investment I see selling land it is not done anywhere in the world. You give these land out on lease to airlines, to investors to develop them so you can create capacity, we are talking about laws all the airlines here need to take their aircraft out for maintenance including the presidential air fleet and we are talking about change.
“Please we cannot be paying N80m, N100m, N200m for a piece of land I’d rather buy a land in Banana island and forget about aviation. These are areas I would like looked at…” he said in his submission
Buttressing his point, Chair man of Air Peace Chief Onyema recounted his own experience stating that for four years he had been stagnated but commended the FAAN managing director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu for wading in.
He said,” Airlines not having maintenance hangars sometimes is not their fault, four years ago Air Peace paid over N200million to acquire land from FAAN like distinguished senate Musa Adede said, he’d rather go to Banana island and buy a piece of land, and the land you’re paying for is 15 years. So it’s a lease for 15 years you’re paying over N200 million, as I speak to you, I don’t have that land and what was given to us cannot be used because the wingspan of our aircraft cannot even pass through the guard way provided for this.
“So we applied and told them reasons why we cannot take the place, they gave us a new place we had to pay more to acquire and it ended up that it was the same thing. Four years have passed; this airline with 25 planes is yet to have a place to maintain their planes.
“Lucky enough the new MD has waded into it, he has stepped in, that is why I say some of these things should not be dependent on the dramatis personae for that moment because of the MD’s position now we are making progress, it has taken four years and this MD has just come to the saddle. We should put certain things in the legislation that makes it compulsory for service providers to provide the service of which they are paid,” he advocated
Meanwhile, a lawyer Chuks Izuogor representing eight airline operators in Nigeria raised observations on a Clause 28 on the Bill to be amended for FAAN stating that it will create uncertainty and a lacuna if the Minister of aviation is given powers to revoke land.
He summarized, “I am here on behalf of eight (8) airlines of Nigeria we have some comments to raise with regards the bill verbally. We will be talking about clause, clause 28 which seeks to empower the minister to by declaration compulsorily take over land. And this is with greatest respect to the Honorable Minister who is here.
“Observation sir, is that we have looked at this clause and there is a bit of uncertainty due to what currently exists in Nigeria right now. Section 28 of the Land Use Act which is presently in force empowers the Governor and the FCT Minister to revoke a certificate of Occupancy (C/O).
“Hypothetically speaking, the issue here is even if the minister of aviation should exercise this power, it doesn’t really translate to an automatic revocation of the title. So there is still a challenge, Mr. Chairman what we are suggesting is that this particular phrase is drafted in such a way that the minister may make an application to the governor to say please we need to take over this land for aviation or overriding public interest, can you revoke the title to the land?”