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Arik Air shareholders give condition for dialogue with AMCON

Shareholders of Arik Air have said they are ready and willing for “an open dialogue” with the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). However, they…

Shareholders of Arik Air have said they are ready and willing for “an open dialogue” with the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

However, they said such a dialogue must be in the presence of the “relevant investigative authorities including such as Police, EFCC, the CBN, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Aviation & Aerospace.”

The shareholders also alleged mismanagement of the airline taken over by AMCON eight years ago, saying contrary to the claim by AMCON that it inherited seven aircraft, there were 17 serviceable aircraft in the airline’s fleet during takeover in 2017.

Daily Trust reports that there has been a lingering dispute between Arik Air’s shareholders led by Chief Johnson Arumemi and the AMCON.

AMCON’s Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru had recently challenged Arik Air shareholders to present a plan for the repayment of their N240bn debt in order to repossess the airline.

However, in their response to the claim, the Arik Air shareholders dismissed the N240bn claim, saying, “The MD of AMCON should cross check his facts as his agency never filed the sum of N240B, in its claim of the airline’s indebtedness in any court. This is patently false, contradictory, and misleading. We ask him to consult his lawyers so as to spare the public the needless overload of his misinformation.”

The statement said, “It is an incontrovertible fact that Arik had no issues with aircraft lessors and financiers, and neither was any aircraft impounded/seized anywhere in the world until mid – 2019 well into the receivership by AMCON when the lessors were not paid as directed by the CBN letter of 14 March 2017 to all banks.

According to them, Arik Air under AMCON’s receivership as at today, 20 September 2023 managed by Kamilu Omokide operates only 2 aircrafts.

“The Arik Hangar in Lagos is now a static display of 14 abandoned new generation aircraft while the rest have either been cut to pieces, sold, and shipped out of the country. The spare parts inventory of Arik valued at over USD150M has been significantly depleted to less than USD15M.

“About 80% of domestic routes have been shut down while all west coast, African and intercontinental routes of London, New York, etc have all been shut down completely after 3 months of operation by AMCON in 2017, In addition, over 3000 of Arik highly trained manpower have lost their jobs.”

Arik Air shareholders also faulted AMCON for allegedly attributing the airline’s “forceful take-over to the call for intervention by former Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo while acting as President.”

“This is a clear affirmation that it was an unnecessary intervention and an act of meddling in the affairs of a private company. We find it laughable that Alhaji Kuru would attempt to place the responsibility for

AMCON’s misadventure in Arik on the former Vice President.”

Aviation workers under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) called for dialogue in resolving the issue.

General Secretary of NUATE, Ocheme Aba in a chat with our correspondent said the airline is in its present state because AMCON had no trained personnel to run any business but to recover debt.

He said the solution was for Arik Air stakeholders to explore some form of settlement with AMCON “so that the place would not be liquidated because there is a limit to which AMCON can continue to run the place.”

“They (AMCON) don’t have capacity to run any business, they don’t have personnel trained to run business, they have personnel trained to recover debt.

“That is what they are. No person can blame them for not running the company well, that is not part of their training. So what is required is for the promoters of Arik Air to come to terms with the fact that the only solution is coming to some form of settlement with AMCON so that they can take their company back. I don’t think there is anyone in this world that is against them from repossessing their company.”

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