Flights grounded after tax men seal up airport in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Flights were grounded and commercial activities paralysed Tuesday when tax officials from Nigeria's southern Edo State government sealed up one of the country's busiest local airports, located in the state capital, Benin City.

The officials shut down the Benin Airport due to what they called non-payment of taxes by the airport authorities.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), which oversees all airports in the country, reacted angrily to the shutdown, which it described as an ''invasion''.

"We learnt this morning that some people belonging to the Edo State Inland Revenue Service early this morning shut the Benin Airport over what our staff described as non payment of taxes. This is coming to us as rude shock, because they could have explored all lines of dialogue instead of just taking the laws into their hands,'' FAAN spokesman Yakubu Dati said in a statement issued in Lagos.

''To close Benin Airport is not good for the security and safety of the airport environment,'' he said, adding that law setting up FAAN exempted it from paying taxes and tenement rates.

The spokesman said the shutdown affected about 10 flights and led to a massive loss of revenue.

It is not yet known when the airport will be re-opened.
-0- PANA SEG 30July2013

30 july 2013 15:01:38

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