Arik Slams N20 Billion Suit Against FG, Ethiopian Airlines Over Planned Takeover
Owners and former management of Arik Air Limited have filed a N20 billion suit against the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines over the proposed takeover bid of the troubled airline.
The Guardian learnt that suit was instituted at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Ethiopian Airlines recently claimed to have submitted a formal bid to take charge of Arik Air, the leading local and flag carrier in Nigeria.
However, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the government’s debt recovery special vehicle, which took over the airline last February, denied rumours of possible sale of the troubled airline to bidders, including recent claim by Ethiopian Airlines that it was in negotiations to acquire assets of Arik Air.
The denial, apparently did little to assure the owners as a suit, dated September 6, was filed by Arik Air’s counsel, Babajide Koku (SAN), Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Ezinne Emedom.
In its statement of claim supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Chris Ndulue, a former 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 AMCON had taken over the airline on February 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 nugatory.
“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 of 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,” the suit stated in part.
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.
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