EFCC operatives meet airline’s chairman
By Louis Ibah
The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced the takeover of Arik Air. Arik air is indebted to AMCON to the tune of N135 billion.
In a press statement yesterday, AMCON announced the sack of the management of Arik Air and replaced it with a new one.
According to AMCON, Captain Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN), will now manage Arik Airline
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, expressed optimism that the takeover of Arik “will stabilise the operations of the airline.”
He said AMCON’s action “will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalise the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”
Pledging the ministry’s support for the new Arik management, Sirika said all necessary steps had been taken to ensure there was no disruption on Arik’s regular business operations or activities of other stakeholders.
Capt. Ilegbodu, the man now at the helms of affairs, assured the airline’s staff and stakeholders that his appointment would, among other objectives, enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, sustain the safety and secure operational history of the airline.
Coming on the heels of the change of leadership, Arik temporarily suspended flight operations to John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, yesterday, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route had been taken to France for C check at the same time.
Daily Sun gathered that more than eight aircraft of the airline were currently grounded at the tarmac, which has made it difficult for Arik to meet routine commercial flights.
During the last Yuletide, passengers were stranded in airports all over the country due to Arik’s incessant flight delays and cancellations, which negatively affected its fortunes.
Arik workers have not been paid for months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management and different aviation.
Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the airline’s offices across the country, causing flights cancellations.
Besides owing workers’ salaries, Arik has also not been remitting taxes of workers to relevant bodies. The Airline is also in default, in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing repossession of its aircraft by lessors.
Meanwhile, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, visited Arik’s head office and held a brief meeting with Chairman of the airline, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide. It was unclear what the visit was all about.
Arik Air’s spokesperson, Ola Adebanji, confirmed the visit, but denied knowledge of what was discussed with Arumemi.