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Bi-Courtney Sues FAAN, Others For Contempt

Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA2), Ikeja, has asked the Federal High Court Lagos to commit three top officials of the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) to jail for contempt of court.

LagosAirportBi-Courtney’s application followed the refusal of the officials, including the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi, to comply with the orders of Justice Jona Adah, in suit number: FHC/IKJ/CS/70/2012, restraining them from further interfering with work on a four-star hotel and conference centre, which the plaintiff is developing at the airport.

According to court documents obtained by correspondents, others against whom Bi-Courtney wants the order of contempt made include FAAN; the authority’s Chief Security Officer, Col. C.L. Onalo, and its General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Yakubu Dati.

Bi-Courtney, according to court documents (Form 49) dated June 26, 2013, claimed that the affected individuals willfully violated the order of the court, which restrained them and their representatives from “commencing, continuing and/or completing any actions or permitting the commencement, continuance and/or completion of any actions in respect of taking over possession  of and/or interfering with the Applicant’s possession of the Four Star Hotel and Conference Centre situate at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, Ikeja, pending the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s application for interlocutory injunction….”

Also, in an affidavit in support of its application, deposed to by one Aina Precious Ogunsuyi, of the law firm of Babalakin & Co, Bi-Courtney claimed, among others, that: “On 6th June 2013, in blatant disregard for the said Ex Parte Order of court, the 1st and 3rd Respondents and their agents removed and destroyed adverts placed at the Four-Star Hotel and Conference Centre at MMA2, despite the fact that on that same day, the Respondents were approached with a copy of the said order by Mr. Christopher Penninck, the Chief Executive Officer of Bi-Courtney.

“That the Applicant sought the intervention of the Nigeria Police Force to restrain the Respondents from their brazen acts of trespass via its letter dated 6th June 2013 and also issued and served upon the Respondents and their agents FORM 48 warning them of the consequence of their disobedience to the subsisting Ex Parte Order of this Honourable Court, on 21st June 2013.

“That on 22nd June 2013, Colonel C.L. Onalo, the Chief Security Officer, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (“FAAN”); and Mr. Yakubu Dati, the Head of Communications, FAAN, accompanied by a rabble of unknown persons, thugs and misfits, all armed with deadly weapons, acting on the instruction of Mr. George Uriesi, the Managing Director, FAAN invaded the MMA2 premises by scaling the fence, and assaulted and caused damage to property belonging to certain staff of the Applicant.

“That Col. C.L. Onalo, the Chief Security Officer, FAAN; and Mr. Yakubu Dati, the Head of Communications, FAAN have been granting interviews on television and radio wherein they stated categorically that they will continue to remove any adverts placed at the Four-Star Hotel and Conference Centre at MMA2.”

Ogunsuyi further averred in the affidavit as follow: “I verily believe that Mr. George Uriesi, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Colonel C.L. Onalo, the Chief Security Officer, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and Mr. Yakubu Dati, the Head of Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Respondents herein are aware and/or ought to be aware of the Ex Parte Order of this Honourable Court per Adah J., delivered on 23rd April 2012.

“I verily believe that Mr. George Uriesi, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Colonel C.L. Onalo, the Chief Security Officer, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and Mr. Yakubu Dati, the Head of Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Respondents herein have been served with FORM 48 warning them of the consequence of their disobedience to the subsisting Ex Parte Order of this Honourable Court.

“I verily believe that the actions of the Respondents, having been aware of the extant Ex Parte Order of this Honourable Court, constitute an affront to the authority of this Honourable Court, and an attempt at disrespecting, flouting and ridiculing this Honourable Court and the entire judicial process.

“I verily believe that if the Respondents are not immediately committed for contempt, the integrity and sanctity of our judicial system will be seriously eroded.

“I verily believe that if the Applicant’s application for order of committal for contempt is not urgently granted, the Respondents will further alter, and destroy the aforesaid Hotel and Conference Centre at MMA2 in a manner which will foist a fait accompli on this Honourable Court were this Honourable Court to find the Applicant’s claims meritorious and deliver final judgment in its favour.”

The affidavit finally noted that “it is in the interest of justice to commit the Respondents for contempt of court”.

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