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Osubi Airport, Warri

Withdrawal of Air traffic services at Osubi Airport was avoidable-investigation

INFORMATION uncovered by Nigerianflightdeck.com indicates that the withdrawal of Air Traffic Services from the Osubi Airport, Warri by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA)would have been avoidable as there was communication between the operator, Shoreline Oil Services limited and Shell Petroleum Development Corporation ( SPDC) who sold the airport to them.

Nigerianflightdeck.com also learnt that the operators of the Warri Airport may have bought over the airport from Shell Petroleum Development Corporation ( SPDC) without being aware of the full liability of the company.

Recall that NAMA in September withdrew Air Traffic Services from the Osubi Airport over a debt balance of N566,422,000.50 accumulated over time by the Osubi Airport only to restore the services October 24 after a N31 million payment by Shoreline Oil Services limited.

In a letter to SPDC obtained by our correspondent, dated 26th April, 2016 and signed by a Director with Shoreline Oil Services limited, Kola Karim, the company had investigated and discovered that NAMA’s claims of which there is an agreement for SPDC to pay N17, 660, 000 ( seventeen million, six hundred and sixty-six thousand) monthly for service fees as Air Traffic Management Services Agreement (ATMS) was valid.

The company from the letter, however, stated that when SPDC divested from Osubi Airport it only made available a contract which was for the sum of N2,976,583. 00 as monthly fee from NAMA stating that it was the responsibility of SPDC who no longer handles the airport to bear the cost of the differential.

A source who pleaded anonymity and is privy to the agreement however said that due diligence may not have been thoroughly done before consummating the agreement with SPDC leaving Shoreline the current owners to bear the brunt of the former’s indebtedness.

However, with the documentation sited, our correspondent learnt that the service fees charged from 2009 was N18,543,517 monthly but because SPDC was paying N17,660,600 monthly the agency ( NAMA) was collecting being a cost recovery agency.

The letter from Shoreline Oil Services Limited which was addressed to the Financial Director (Nigeria and Gabon), Shell Exploration and Production Africa and read in part:

“Our investigation regarding NAMA’s claims of the existence of a .. Between itself and SPDC Ltd on behalf of itself and partners (SPDC) upon which they asserted that there is an agreement to pay a monthly service fee of N17, 660, 000 ( seventeen million, six hundred and sixty-six thousand) under an Air Traffic Management Services Agreement (ATMS). NAMA has provided evidence of SPDC’s payment.”

“However, when SPDC decided to close out/divest interest in Osubi Airstrip and at the time of our acquisition in 2015, the only information SPDC made available to us was a contract(Contract NGO1002424) which expired 30th June 2012 for the sum of N2,976,583 as monthly fee to NAMA.”

“Therefore, as there exists a contract of performance by SPDC with NAMA, SPDC has the responsibility to bear the cost of the difference between the N2,976,583 which was disclosed in the contract made available to us as at the completion of the sale transaction and the non-disclosure of payment of N17, 660, 000 as monthly fees to NAMA.”

When contacted to shed more light on the situation, the Public Affairs unit of NAMA declined any comment save to state that the Osubi Airport operators had paid N31,000,000 and that the agency will contact them to reconcile and defray their remaining debt.

NAMA spokesman, Khalid Emele, “NAMA is a cost recovery agency and has no powers to write off any debt as a government agency and NAMA wants its clients to also be in business so they all can grow in turn. It is not the agency’s wish for anyone to face challenges, however on what you ask, I cannot confirm or deny,” he said.

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