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Air traffic controllers ground Warri airport over alleged N600m debt

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Air transport services at the Osubi Airport, Warri, Delta State, were yesterday grounded to a halt, as traffic controllers withdrew services over alleged N600 million debt.

The action, sequel to the directive of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), followed the facility’s managers’ failure to pay for its services.

With the air traffic controllers not in the tower, no aircraft could land or takeoff from the airport.

Director of Finance at NAMA, Umoh Aniefiok, confirmed the debt of over N500 million “as at the last count”, adding that the withdrawal of services was the last resort after all other means had been exhausted.

The Guardian learnt that the aeronautical services debt had continued to pile up since Shell Petroleum Development Company transferred ownership of the airport to an indigenous energy and infrastructure company in 2015.

According to Aniefiok, the current owners and managers of the facility “simply refused to pay, saying the services are government-owned, forgetting that the cost of training and salary of the controllers are just as much as what is spent on pilots.”


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