Nigeria air

Domestic Airlines File N2 billion Lawsuit Against Nigeria Air, Ethiopian Airlines

3 mins read

Nigeria Air and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, have been dragged to the Federal High Court in Lagos for selecting Ethiopian Airlines as major investor and partner in the National Carrier.

Other defendants mentioned in the suit are Ethiopian Airlines and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. 

The lawsuit was filed by domestic airlines under the umbrella of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), with  Max Air, Topbrass Aviation, Azman Air, Air Peace  and United Nigeria Airlines demanding that Ethiopian Airlines’ partnership with Nigeria Air be terminated. 

The domestic airlines explained that selecting Ethiopian Airlines put their operation at risk, as it allows the company operate domestic flights within the country through Nigeria Air. 

It was alleged that the Air Transport Licence issued by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to Nigeria Air was not conducted appropriately, and should be withdrawn. Also, they stated that the Transaction Adviser for the deal was founded in March 2021, and the minister of aviation is linked to the firm. 

The airlines demanded N2 billion compensation “for the injury suffered by the Plaintiffs and still suffering as a result of the wrongful exclusion of the plaintiffs, wrongful action; unlawful bidding and selection processes and their wrongful projection of the plaintiffs as not having properly, rightly and timely bid for the Nigeria Air project.” 

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Backstory to the lawsuit

Prime Business Africa had reported two months ago that the Federal Government had selected Ethiopian Airlines as the technical partner of Nigeria Air. 

Sirika had also revealed that following visits to several foreign airlines, the only offer of interest was received from Ethiopian Airlines. 

He said “it was the only airline that responded to our request for partnership to run the airline after many months of advertisement of expression of interest. 

“Even after some interested persons asked Nigeria to extend the time of EoI and we did, none of them showed interest. Officials of the Ministry of Aviation led by me personally visited some of the leading airlines across the world and pleaded with them to take up the partnership with Nigeria to set up the airline. 

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“None of them signified interest except Ethiopian Airlines, which has been allotted 49 per cent shares, while Nigerian institutional investors take up 45 per cent and the Federal Government will take up only five per cent.”

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