Arik airline shareholders file new suit against AMCON, NCAA over takeover

Arik Air
Arik Air. (Photo Credit: Punch)

Shareholders and directors of Arik Air Limited have dragged the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, accusing the federal authorities of mismanagement.

In suit number FHC/L/CS//2017, filed on March 27, the shareholders prayed the court to hold AMCON and NCAA responsible if there is any case of air accident or other serious damages in the airline’s operation.

“‘A declaration that the defendants would be personally liable for any Air crash arising from non-compliance with the NCAA Act and regulations including any claims for compensation and criminal liability arising therefrom,” court papers showed.

The case, which is the latest in a string of lawsuits between Arik and AMCON, came two months after AMCON took over management Arik Airline, the largest in the country. The move followed an ex-parte order of the  Federal High Court.

The agency cited poor mismanagement on the part of the company’s owners, saying it assumed control of the troubled airline in order to reposition it. Amcon said Arik was indebted to it up to the tune of N300 billion.

But the airline shareholders and management vowed to challenge the takeover. The Federal High Court is expected to rule on two pending applications that stemmed from the takeover in the coming weeks.

In their latest suit, Arik directors, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and engineer, Sangowawa Olubiyi, said AMCON had violated the country’s air traffic laws which could result in air accidents.

“Arik Aircrafts are not receiving adequate and scheduled maintenance as well as regular supply of proper spare parts,” the plaintiffs said. “Over 10 aircraft parked at the Arik Air hanger are not on a maintenance and storage program and thus the safety of passengers currently being ferried on board the aircraft cannot be guaranteed.”

No date has been fixed for hearing on the matter.

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