Authorities of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has apologized to the Edo State Government and air travelers over the incident which led to the closure of the Benin Airport on Tuesday.
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Managing Director, Mr. George Uriesi who led other management staff which included Mr. Yakubu Dati, General Manager, Mr. Kolawole Adefomiwa, Deputy General Manager, Mr. Adeboye Festus, the Chief Security Officer and Mr. Ayodele Sunday, Airport Manager, Benin City said “we deeply regret the events of yesterday and we will like to find out how we can avoid a situation like this arising in the future, because it is neither in the interest of FAAN nor in the interest of Edo State Government for the Airport to be closed down, because there was a lot of hardship and serious economic consequences as a result of the shutdown and there is need to settle this matter.
“I want to assure Your Excellency that FAAN is a good corporate citizen, I am convinced that there was a misunderstanding and I want to get to the bottom of this misunderstanding so that it does not happen again.
“If we have any obligations, we will meet them, and I hope that in the future if there are issues of misunderstanding, we will be able to talk about them quickly without them leading to delays and inconveniences to the public. So, sir we are here to reassure you of our respects and desire to be good corporate citizens and partner with the State Government to deliver services to the people of Edo State”.
In his response, Governor Oshiomhole noted that tax law was a federal law which the state Government is only trying to implement. He noted that the tax which FAAN defaulted on was the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) which even the President and Governors pay.
Oshiomhole said the State Board of Internal Revenue got a proper Court Order to seal the FAAN Manager’s Office, noting that the FAAN Manager on his own decided to seal up the Airport to gain public sympathy.
The Governor said the problem with Nigeria is not immunity, but impunity as people often violate the law and get away with it.
He insisted that anybody who works and lives in Edo State must pay tax in contribution to the development of the State.
The Governor said a way to avoid a re-occurrence of the ugly incident was for FAAN to comply with the law.
He however, expressed his displeasure with the FAAN Manager Benin Airport, Mr. Ayodele Sunday for dramatizing the issue, saying “I hope in future, this sort of thing does not happen”.