Court fixes date for ruling on Arik Air’s AMCON takeover

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A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Friday fixed May 15 for ruling on two preliminary objections stemming from the takeover of Arik Air Limited by the Assets Management Corporation (AMCON).

Arik Air
Arik Air

AMCON had, through an ex parte application on February 8, secured an injunction restraining Arik Air Limited’s “shareholders, directors, creditors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, agents, representatives, privies” from interfering with the receiver manager’s power to manage the airline.

But the owners of the airline, led by Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Chris Ndule, Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Sangowawa Olubiyi, filed a preliminary objection through their lawyer, Babajide Koku.

They accused Kayinsola Ajayi, the lawyer representing AMCON and Oluseye Opasanya, of engaging in professional misconduct, and urged the court to void all the processes so far filed by Olaniwun Ajayi on behalf of AMCON and Mr. Opasanya.

The ground of their objection was that Messrs Ajayi and Opasanya were both lawyers practising in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi.

Mr. Opasanya, a legal practitioner at Olaniwun Ajayi law firm, was appointed as the receiver manager of Arik Air Limited following its takeover by AMCON.

AMCON had on February 8, 2017 announced that it had taken over Arik Air Limited.

The corporation said it took over Arik Air Limited to save the airline from collapse and in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other interest groups in the aviation sector.

Mr. Koku had argued that by virtue of Rule 17 of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007, neither Mr. Ajayi nor any other lawyer from the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi could appear in a case where Mr. Opasanya is a plaintiff.

Opposing the preliminary objection, however, Mr. Ajayi argued that there was a distinction between Mr. Opasanya and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi where he works, and there was no law stopping anyone from the law firm from representing Mr. Opasanya.

Mr. Ajayi also filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of Mr. Koku’s clients to file the preliminary objection. He argued that they were not parties in the suit in question which AMCON and Mr. Opasanya filed against Arik Air Limited and the Inspector-General of Police.

He described them as interlopers who should not be heard and urged Justice Mohammed Idris to dismiss the preliminary objection by Koku’s clients.

After hearing both preliminary objections on Friday, Justice Idris adjourned the case till May 15, 2017, for ruling.

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