Court stops Nigeria Air project

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted an order of interim injunction stopping the process of establishing Nigeria Air.

The court granted the order following a motion ex-parte issued by some airline operators under the registered trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).

The airlines comprising Azman Air, Air Peace, Max Air, United Nigeria and Top Brass Airlines had filed a suit at the court to stop the national carrier project.

The order was given a few hours after the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika vowed in Lagos that no court order would stop the ongoing national carrier project.

Sirika spoke in Lagos during the stakeholders’ appreciation forum for the completion of the installation of Airfield Lighting at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Runway 18L.

The AON members had in suit number FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 challenged the decision of the federal government to select Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred equity partner for the national carrier, holding 49 percent controlling share of the airline.

Listed as defendants one, two, three and four respectively in the suit are the Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Senator Hadi Sirika and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The court presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, however granted an order of interim injunction stopping the execution of the project while at the same time gave an order for an accelerated hearing of the suit.

After “careful consideration of the application and submission of counsel, the court granted “an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the Defendants either by themselves, agents, privies, Principals or any other persons whosoever from the proposed executing or draft “NATIONAL or CARRIER ESTABLISHMENT AND AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA (represented by the 3rd and 4th Defendants) and the strategic equity partner (the 2nd Defendant) or giving effect to and or suspending the sale and transfer of the shares & operations of the 1st Defendant by the 2nd Defendant pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.”

The court also granted an Order of Maintenance of Status Quo by all parties in this suit from taking any further step(s) in relation to the subject matter of this suit pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Sirika had said the federal government is going ahead with establishing a national carrier despite the subsisting suit challenging the project.

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