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Cracks in AON over Nigeria Air suit

The suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) challenging the establishment of Nigeria Air has polarised the body of indigenous Airlines operating in…

The suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) challenging the establishment of Nigeria Air has polarised the body of indigenous Airlines operating in Nigeria, Daily Trust can report. 

This followed a countersuit brought before the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division handling the matter on Monday by two AON members of the Board of Trustees (BOT).

Though the court presided over by Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa had on Monday adjourned the matter till February 13, the countersuit filed by the two members, a former Chairman of the AON and another operator, has introduced a new dimension into the matter.

The two operators are challenging the decision of the Incorporated Trustees of the AON including Azman Air Ser­vices Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airlines and Top Brass Aviation Limited who are plaintiffs in the suit, to file the action, claiming they are not representing them.

Our correspondent however learned that the application by the two AON members was countered by the Plaintiffs with the minute of a meeting of the AON where the decision to file the suit was taken.

It would be recalled that the AON had in November last year sued the government challenging its decision to select Ethiopian Airlines as the core investor for the proposed airline.

The defendants in the suit are Nigeria Air Limited, Ethio­pian Airlines, Sen. Hadi Sirika and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The court had earlier granted an order stopping the government from going ahead with the project pending the determination of the motion on notice filed by the AON.

The government through its defence counsel has failed to set aside the order stopping the project.

On Friday, counsels to the federal government filed a fresh motion seeking the transfer of the case to Abuja but this was opposed by the AON which argued that all the airlines that filed the suit have their head offices in Lagos.

The government on its part also claimed that all the defendants operate in Abuja.

But the matter of jurisdiction is yet to be settled when the two AON members filed their countersuit.

But in adjourning the matter till February, the AON lawyer was given one week to study the request of the government for a transfer of the matter to Abuja.

This is expected to be heard before the substantive motion challenging the establishment of the airline would be heard. 

A member of the AON who spoke with Daily Trust on the condition of anonymity yesterday said, “The case has been adjourned again till February which is about a week or two weeks to the election and the matter is not even ripe for hearing because of the jurisdictional application brought before the court.

“We remain resolute in challenging this and following the case to a logical conclusion. The truth is our members who brought a countersuit were at the AGM where the decision to challenge the establishment of Nigeria Air was taken but we are taken aback by the countersuit but we believe that Justice would be served by the court.”


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