From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Commotion reigned along the road leading to the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos yesterday morning, as commuters and airport workers went through harrowing experience, as the limousine and cab operators protested what they described as unlawful ousters from the space allotted them by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) more than six months ago.
The situation forced passengers connecting flight from the international to the domestic wing to trek the long distance in order to connect their flight.
The operators, under the name: “Airport Limousine Shuttle Service Association of Nigeria” (ALSSAN), prevented traffic from moving freely along the airport road from the local wing, while they blocked FAAN headquarters demanding that a suitable space be allocated to them for their operations.
The operators, about 400 in number, carried placards with various inscriptions, which read: “FAAN, we are not slaves, give us a standard car park’; Oga /Madam, No comfort at Airport Limousine car park’; ‘Our Mumu don do, give us befitting park’, posited that the airport authority has displaced them for car hire operators, who according to them pay lesser revenue than they do and questioned the rationale behind their ousters after six months of operating at the site.
ALSSAN Chairman, Mr. Gabriel Agboma described FAAN’s decision as insensitive since they collect N81, 000 each from over 600 cars registered under the body.
They said “FAAN security personnel are edging us out of our temporary base to make way for car hire operators, who are not paying enough money to FAAN as we do”.
“FAAN security officials came to our car park at the international airport, around 4:30 a.m. and chased us out and those cars that they could see at that time were confiscated and taken to their pool”, Agboma lamented.
“We have met with the State Security Service (SSS), Airport Commandant and currently, we are meeting with the Managing Director of FAAN over the issue.
Our grouse right now is that we need a car park with all the amenities in it.
“They just chased us out this morning and asked us to leave without giving us an alternative car park. We learnt that they want to give the park to Car Hire Association of Nigeria, which is unfair to us” he said further.
Efforts to get reaction from the authority did not yield any positive result as at press time.