Arik Files N20B Suit against FG, Ethiopian Airlines

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on September 10th, 2017

Abuja, Nigeria. Sept 10th. Even though the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has since refuted the media reports of Ethiopian Airlines negotiations for Arik as fake news, Arik Air has filed a N20 billion suit against the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines over recent claims in the media that they were negotiating the takeover of the airline.

The suit which was filed on Sept.6 by Arik Air’s counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), Mr Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Mrs Ezinne Emedom, was instituted by the airline at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation.

In its statement of claim supported by a 20 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr Chris Ndulue, a Director with Arik Air, the plaintiff asked the court to restrain the first and second defendants from further negotiations on its takeover.

The plaintiff noted that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) had taken over the airline on Feb. 8 which was challenged by its management via two suits already pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

According to the plaintiff, the suits numbers are FHC/L/CS/827/17 and FHC/L/CS/826/17, adding that the negotiations by the defendants will render the outcome of the suits nurgatory.

“The plaintiff avers that the agreement of the second defendant with the first defendant will be wide ranging and intricately affect every aspect of the plaintiff herein, including but not limited to the day to day running technical as well as financial management which will affect the plaintiff as being the largest domestic and regional airline in Nigeria.

“The plaintiff further avers that the action taken by the first and second defendants will have a negative effect on the country’s image as the plaintiff being the largest airline will be pawned over to another country for management,” it said.

The plaintiff also averred that the negotiations had caused undue hardship and irreparable damage to the Arik Air brand and ongoing investment discussions as well as unbearable distress to the airline’s shareholders and directors.

It, therefore, asked the court to declare the negotiations null and void because the Ministry of Transportation had no power to transfer the management of the airline to Ethiopian Airlines while the suits over the takeover are pending.

The plaintiff also asked the court for an order directing the Attorney General of the Federation to ensure the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines by the appropriate authorities for inducing and interfering in the administration of justice in the pending suits.

It added that if found culpable, the airline should be charged to court for criminal contempt contrary to Section 133 (4) and (9) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State, Cap C17,Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2004.

The plaintiff also asked the court for an order compelling the Inspector General of Police to investigate the actions of the second defendant.

It further asked the court for N20 billion being punitive damages against the first defendant for inducing or partaking in the interference of the rights of the plaintiff and the administration of justice. The suit is yet to be assigned to any judge and no date has been fixed for hearing

AMCON Refutes Fake News Of Talks With Ethiopian Airlines Over Arik Air

Abuja, Nigeria. Sept 7th. The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) yesterday restated that it had not entered into negotiation with the management of Ethiopian Airlines regarding Arik Air Limited (Arik), which it took over recently. AMCON’s Head, Corporate Communications, Jude Nwauzor, in a statement yesterday, said the attention of the corporation was drawn to a barrage of media reports (not Nigeria Circle News) on the matter.

He explained: “Our attention has been drawn to a barrage of media reports, which claimed that there are discussions going on with Ethiopian Airlines for the carrier to render management services to Arik. Contrary to these reports, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is not aware of any current discussion or negotiation with the management of Ethiopian Airlines regarding Arik Air Limited (Arik).”

Arik was placed in receivership last February, following the airline’s inability to repay debts in excess of N300 billion to AMCON and other creditors in Nigeria and around the world.

It had been reported that the Receivership Team had within the period stabilised the operations of the airline, marked by stability of schedules; improved On-Time-Performance (OTP) and revamped customer service among others.

“Today, the Airline has regained its dominance as the most reliable carrier in the country with growing passenger patronage and confidence. The general public and all stakeholders will be kept duly informed on issues relating to the airline’s divestment plan,” Nwauzor added.


Photo: Inside Arik Air in flight

It was reported last week that Africa’s leading airline, Ethiopian Airlines, said that it had submitted a formal offer to take charge of troubled local carrier Arik Air, which accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s air passenger traffic.

“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” Esayas WoldeMariam, the airline’s managing director of international services. We are capable and desirous of handling the airline,” he stated.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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