Arik Heads to Court to Challenge FG Takeover

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The management of Arik Air has said it will challenge the take-over of the airline by the Federal Government.

Government had announced the take-over Thursday, in what it said was to save the airline from collapse, even as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), in a statement said it has a court order to take over the airline.

AMCON had also Thursday announced Captain Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, described as an aviation expert, to manage the airline which has been placed under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).

AMCON had said in a statement, “The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholders’ funds, as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector”..

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had also Thursday said the take-over will stabilise the operations of the airline.

Sirika said, “This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalise the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”

The decision of the Federal Government was to see that business operations of the airline were not disrupted, according to Capt. Ilegbodu.

The airline has not been paying salaries and has also failed to remit taxes deducted from workers’ salaries to the relevant authorities.

With the take-over, it is expected that government will fund the airline to meet necessary obligations.

However, the Deputy Managing Director of Arik, Captain Ado Sanusi while reacting to development said the airline will challenge the decision in court.

Sanusi said that while the management will comply with the decision of the government, it will still go ahead to challenge the action.

He told newsmen, “We were served with the court order this morning. Arik Air will comply with the order. The airline has the right to challenge the order and will challenge the court order.

“We might disagree on certain issues, but we have agreed that Air operations should continue and not be paralysed.

“We will make our position known to our various stakeholders and partners; we will challenge this order to the highest level.”