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FAAN, Airport car hire operators clash as airport reopens

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There was a clash between Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Abuja Airport Car Hire  Association (AACHA) on Wednesday.

FAAN alleged that five of its workers were injured and one in a coma after they were attacked by members of AACHA.

The clash also resulted in the destruction of some property belonging to the car hire operators including canopies and some vehicles.

Commenting on what transpired between both parties, the Legal Adviser of FAAN, Clifford Omozeghian said: “the problem we have is with the car hire people.

“They took us to court and the court gave the judgement against them. The court gave some specific order that they should be removed from this premise because they are not registered with FAAN.

“The court empowered the airport manager to act as a bailiff in order that this order be executed. We have tried all possible means when we sought to execute the judgement.

“These people who are so violent. They came hard on our staffs, they broke some people’s head, some people were rushed to the hospital, we had some persons who fell into a coma.

“So we had to send a petition to the Inspector-General Police because we were being intimidated and harassed.

He further said: “The IGP immediately ordered that his men be on the ground to investigate the issue. They were here yesterday, and some persons were arrested and the place evacuated.

“We had to barricade the main carpark in order to maintain sanity but by this morning, these same persons who have constituted themselves as a menace to the authority came again in full force and forcefully removed the barricade that was placed there.

“When some of our security men approached them, they lynched some of them, they beat them up seriously, and this is embarrassing to us.

“You can not force yourself on us, the law is so clear about that. They are not registered with us, the court has said that, but they said they must impose themselves on us. So that is where we are now.

On the number of FAAN officials affected, he said: “We have about five men beaten this morning, we have one in coma and we have one on admission right now.

Some of them were arrested on Thursday, we do not know what is happening right now but we expect the policemen to continue their investigations and invite us to come for further briefings.

Reacting to the allegations raised by FAAN, one of the Board of Trustees of the association, Chief Uche Chinese said FAAN was only trying to intimidate some of its members.

He denied having any physical confrontation with officials of FAAN.

According to him: “They came here with personnel of SARS  and you know that they carry arms. It’s only a mad man that will want to fight someone who was carrying arms.

Also speaking, Mr. Victor Chuba said: “We were here at the car park and they came to us with a team of SARS and they asked for Alhaji Dele, when they chained his legs and hands.

“They arrested four other people and asked every other persons to remove his or her cars that we are not supposed to be at the airport because they said we are not legitimate concessionaire but we told them we were but we were forcefully removed and they went ahead to destroy our canopies and spoilt some of the cars.

On what he suspects to be responsible for the clash,  Chuba said: “FAAN wants to impose other companies on our association.

“We are concessionaire and the space we occupy presently was given to us by FAAN but now they want to intimidate us.

“The painful thing is that members now carry one turn per week, we find it difficult to fend for our families and now they are trying to impose N2000 daily payment on us.”

On whether the clash in any way affected the security of passengers, the Chief Security Officer of the airport, Akewusola Adisa said: “The actions did not affect the security of our passengers.

“The security of our passenger is intact and our men are on ground to ensure that there is law and order. We have registered car hire and they are fully on ground doing their business. Everything is intact, the runway completed.

“If you look around you will see that there is business as usual. We have come to term with the period we said we were going to use even before the day; you saw that we commenced operations on Today.”

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