Minister declines to sue Arik over corruption allegation

Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah says that out of reverence to the nation’s SGF, she has decided to suspend her suit against Arik Air.



Despite being publicly accused, by Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, of promoting personal interest over national interest in her duties, the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, Monday said she would not take the airline to court
The Special Adviser on Media to Ms. Oduah, Joe Obi, said on Monday in Abuja that the minister had suspended any legal action against Arik.

Mr. Obi said the minister decided to suspend legal action after a meeting she had with the Secretary to the Government of Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, on Friday, September 21. He said the minister directed her lawyers to suspend to actions till further notice in deference to the SGF.

The Vice Chairman of Arik Air, Aniete Okon, had told journalists in Lagos, on September 20, that the airline was being punished for its refusal to accede to “the personal interest of the minister”.

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Responding to the allegation in a statement on September 21, the minister threatened to institute legal action against the airline over the “unfounded allegations against her”.’

Ms. Oduah said the claims by the management of the airline that she requested for five per cent equity from the airline, was designed to embarrass her.


Two weeks to settle debt

Ms. Oduah also claimed that the SGF has given Arik a two-week ultimatum to “reconcile the debts it is owing the ministry and return with evidence of payment”.

“We don’t want to disrespect the admonition of the SGF. We are holding on for now but that will also depend on the progress that will be reported in the next two weeks.

“The SGF has directed Arik Air to go to the ministry and the agencies to reconcile its debts and come back with confirmation of payment to him within two weeks,” she said.

The minister said that Arik Air owes the ministry N85.40 billion, adding that she has no stake in the company.

Ms. Oduah said that the time is ripe for Arik Air to change its mode of business to enable it resolve its financial crisis, adding that she has never contemplated acquiring a stake in any airline.

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