The Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, has condemned the actions of aviation unionists who staged a protest at the headquarters of Arik Air Thursday.
Jude Nwauzor, AMCON’s Head of Corporate Communications, while speaking during a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES Thursday, said the disruption of activities at the airline’s headquarters was uncalled for.
Aviation unions had in the early hours of Thursday shut down the operations of Arik Air.
The unions, which include the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, on Wednesday threatened to ground the airline following Arik management’s alleged failure to reinstate its sacked members.
The protesters also disclosed that the shutdown was because of the airline’s breach of the rights of workers and its indebtedness to aviation parastatals.
Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary of NUATE, told PREMIUM TIMES that the takeover of Arik airline by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has worsened the crisis facing the airline.
“In fact, taking over of Arik by AMCON has seemingly worsened the situation because we expected that immediately AMCON came, they would do an appraisal of issues and find out how to resolve them,” he said.
But Mr. Nwauzor, in his reaction, said the union member were not representing staff of the airline, noting that staff of Arik air had made it known that they were not interested in the union’s activities.
“The staff said they are not interested in the union but they want to coax them. You will notice that even at the protest ground, there are staff members who were expressing their displeasure at what was going on,” he said.
“The position of AMCON isn’t different from that of the management of Arik. The airline is not grounded as airplanes are operating as scheduled. Operation is disrupted at the entrance of the airline’s headquarters but it doesn’t mean work isn’t going on inside the building,” he added.
“The unions are just constituting nuisance and disturbing public peace.”
The AMCON spokesperson, however, did not comment on other demands by the union leaders.
On February 9, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria took over Arik as a result of the airline’s bad debt to the company and other creditors.
AMCON, thereafter, appointed Roy Ilegbodu as manager of the airline and Oluseye Opasanya as the airline’s receiver manager.