The contractor handling the construction of the MKO Abiola International Airport at Ido Osun in Osun State, JM & AS Limited, has written the state government to demand immediate payment of N570.2m debt expended on the project or be ready for court action.
The firm gave the state government two weeks to pay the debt following reports that the airport had been handed over to the Nigeria Air Force by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led government.
Counsel for the firm, Mr J. J. Usman (SAN), in the letter to the governor, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Ibadan on Monday, frowned on the handover which it described as a unilateral decision.
He said it was improper for the Osun State government to abandon the agreements reached with the company on the job without paying for jobs done.
The letter read, “It is instructive to note that the sum due to our client and outstanding debt has remained unpaid after several demands, leading our client to vacate the site since it became impossible for our client to continue with the work owing to the failure and refusal of the government to pay the outstanding debt.
“Our client further informed us that having served the government notices of intention to vacate the site due to government failure to pay, they indeed vacated the site sometimes in 2017.
“While our client was waiting for the government to comply with the terms of the contract by paying for Certificates Nos 4 and 5, and to enable them return to site and continue with their work, the state government has curiously and purportedly re-awarded the contract or handed-over the site to a different company other than Awol International Limited as contained in the MoU despite the subsisting of the contract of our client, which has not been terminated.
“It is our client’s instruction to us to demand and we hereby demand from you the following: The immediate payment of our client’s outstanding balance of N570,231,101.94 being the balance for the interim Certificate No. 4 and Interim Certificate No. 5 outstanding as contained in the final account.”
“And also your government to provide the enabling environment for our client to mobilise back to site as our client’s contract is still subsisting and our client is willing, able and capable of completing the construction of the Moshood Abiola International Airport Osogbo, Osun State.
Recall that the airport project was started by the administration of Rauf Aregbesola but it was not completed throughout his eight years in office.
Oyetola had earlier in July said at the handover ceremony that, “I would like to state here that request by the Nigerian Air Force for the State Government to cede the runway and the entire airport corridor to them shall be granted. The corridor will be developed for both military and civilian use.”