Arik Air Limited has filed a N20 billion suit against the federal government and Ethiopian Airlines over recent claims in the media that they were negotiating the takeover of the airline.
The suit was instituted by the airline at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation.
A copy of the suit which was filed on September 6 by Arik Air’s counsels, Babajide Koku, Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Ezinne Emedom, was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria yesterday in Lagos.
In its statement of claim supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Chris Ndulue, a director with Arik Air, the plaintiff, asked the court to restrain the first and second defendants from further negotiations on its takeover.
The plaintiff noted that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, had taken over the airline on February 8 which was challenged by its management via two suits already pending before the Federal High Court, Lagos.
According to the plaintiff, the suits numbers are FHC/L/CS/827/17 and FHC/L/CS/826/17, adding that the negotiations by the defendants will render the outcome of the suits nugatory.
“The plaintiff avers that the agreement of the second defendant with the first defendant will be wide ranging and intricately affect every aspect of the plaintiff herein, including but not limited to the day to day running technical as well as financial management which will affect the plaintiff as being the largest domestic and regional airline in Nigeria.
“The plaintiff further avers that the action taken by the first and second defendants will have a negative effect on the country’s image as the plaintiff being the largest airline will be pawned over to another country for management,” it said.
The plaintiff also averred that the negotiations had caused undue hardship and irreparable damage to the Arik Air brand and ongoing investment discussions as well as unbearable distress to the airline’s shareholders and directors.
It, therefore, asked the court to declare the negotiations null and void because the Ministry of Transportation had no power to transfer the management of the airline to Ethiopian Airlines while the suits over the takeover are pending.