Arik owes N375 billion local debt, over $35 million foreign debt – Official

Arik Air
Arik Air. (Photo Credit: Punch)

Arik air, Nigeria’s largest airline, owed N375 billion naira in local debt before it was taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, in February, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

According to an affidavit deposed to at a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, the erstwhile management of the airline also failed to remit N4.586 billion pension contributions of its employees to the National Pension Commission, despite making the necessary pension deductions from their salaries.

Gbolahan Odutayo, the airline’s Assistant Vice President II and Team Lead, Transport and Aviation unit, who gave a breakdown of the debt owed by the airline, stated that Arik owes N418 million as arrears of unpaid insurance premium.

Commenting further, he disclosed that the airline was also indebted to the tune of N632 million for services rendered by Amadeus Marketing, one of its service providers; as well as N28.3 billion and N9.4 billion unpaid loans owed Zenith and Access banks, respectively.

Also, Mr. Odutayo revealed that the airline owed Lufthansa group, a company responsible for maintenance of its airplanes 31 million euros; just as it owes aviation authorities in the west coast of Africa $6.5 million.

Similarly, Mr. Odutayo noted that since AMCON’s takeover in February, the airline’s receiver manager, Oluseye Opasanya, had received diverse claims of indebtedness from different sources totalling N300 billion.

He further disclosed that Arik air is hugely indebted to the United States’ Customs and its Internal Revenue Service, IRS, to the tune of $311,888 and $987,170; among others.

Mr. Odutayo’s disclosure put Arik’s local debt at N375 billion while its foreign debt was put at 31 million euros and $6.5 million.

He, however, said that as a result of the debt owed the United States’ Internal Revenue Service, Arik air’s asset are susceptible to arrest around the world.

The affidavit also revealed that the airline had inadequate equipment to facilitate its operation at the point of AMCON’s takeover in February, as revealed earlier on Wednesday by the agency’s spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor.

AMCON had on February 9, taken over Arik as a result of the airline’s bad debt to the company and other creditors.

The agency, thereafter, appointed Roy Ilegbodu as manager of the airline and Oluseye Opasanya as the airline’s receiver manager.

The new officials accused the previous management of mismanaging the airline, asking for patience of workers and creditors to reposition the airline.

Speaking further at the press briefing Wednesday, Mr. Nwauzor, AMCON spokesperson, said the Nigerian government would make its final resolution on Arik air known to the public “very soon”.

PREMIUM TIMES’ effort to reach the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, was futile as the mobile contact of its spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, was not reachable.


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