By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos –
Following recent claims in the media that Ethiopian Airlines is negotiating the takeover Arik Air Limited, shareholders of the airline have filed a N20 billion suit against the East African carrier, accusing them of sharp practices.
The suit was instituted by the shareholders of the airline at the Federal High Court, Lagos against Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami. LEADERSHIP obtained a copy of the suit which was filed on Sept.6, 2017 by Arik Air’s counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Mrs Ezinne Emedom in Lagos yesterday.
In its statement of claim supported by a 20 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Mr 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 Feb. 8, 2017 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 nurgatory.
“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 were pending.
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