Arik Air board takes legal action over AMCON takeover
An objection has been filed in the Federal High Court in Lagos about the take over of Arik Air by the state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), reports ch-aviation.
The objectors claim that there is a conflict of interest in the appointment of the receiver manager. The action comes just a week after the airline was effectively shut down by employees who accuse the new management of being hostile to unions.
Arik Air was placed into the hands of lawyer Oluseye Opasanya after its take over by AMCON in February, and an injunction was secured to prevent any interference in Opasanya's management of the airline. The objection claims that Opasanya, who works for law firm Olaniwun Ajaya LP, is acting in an unprofessional manner. The conflict of interest apparently arises from the fact that the lawyer who is representing AMCON, Kayinsola Ajayi, also works for the same firm.
Ajayi has rejected the claim, stating that there is a distinction between a lawyer, and the law firm for which they work. He also claims that the four objectors – which includes the chairman of Arik Air's board, its managing director, CEO and another director – are interlopers and not party to the suit.
Meanwhile, relations between Arik Air's employees and Opasanya are also strained. Union members claim they have been treated in an uncivilised manner with Opasanya walking out on meetings. News site Naij reports that union representatives were escorted out by bodyguards. Members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers staged a protest on Thursday March 23, saying that the airline's management had failed to reinstate sacked staff.
One employee who contacted ch-aviation said that staff on international services were effectively retrenched on February 20, however no information about a retrenchment package has been communicated to them. "We were never paid for February," the informant said. "No retrenchment letters have been issued to the staff."