Desist from issuance of AOC to Nigeria Air, counsel to aggrieved airlines warns NCAA

Burreini Jimoh (SAN), Counsel to some airlines that have stood as impediments to the floating of Nigeria Air has written to the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu reminding him of the order of interlocutory injunction restraining the issuance of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to the national airline.

 

Air Peace chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema

The soon-to-be carrier is on the verge of getting its AOC. The AOC is a permit or license that is granted by the aviation regulatory body to any airline that meets its rigorous requirements. Granting the all-important certificate indicates that the airline can commenCE flight operations.

In its notification of the court order to the NCAA DG dated April 19, 2023, Jimoh noted that in the suit between the registered trustees of the airline operators of Nigeria like Air Peace, Azman, Max Air, United Nigeria Airlines, and Top Brass Aviation Limited versus Nigeria Air, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided by Hon. Justice A.L Allagoa, in the above suit, granted Orders of interim and interlocutory injunctions, in the terms contained in the Order, restraining taking of any step in relation to the Nigeria Air project.

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Azman’s B737 aircraft

The letter to the NCAA read in part, “You are therefore notified to desist from dealing with the Minister/the Federal Ministry of Aviation and/or their agents, privies or representatives, pertaining the Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the subject matter of the suit, to avoid consequences of disobedience of Court Orders.

“As a law-abiding regulatory agency, you are under the watchful eyes of the world and it is in your interest to desist from any further action on the AOC process that will ridicule the integrity of the Agency before the local media as well as the Global Aviation Community.”

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The airlines (Plaintiffs), it would be recalled had taken the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria Air, and Ethiopian Airlines (Defendants) to court to stop the airline from taking to the sky.

Upon motion ex-parte dated and filed November 10, 2023, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves, agents, privies, principals, or any other persons whatsoever from executing the proposed draft, “National Carrier’ establishment between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the strategic equity partner (second defendant) or giving effect to or suspending the sale and transfer of the share and operations of the first defendant by the second defendant pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Max Air’s B737 airplane

The carriers equally prayed for the maintenance of the status quo by all parties in the suit from taking any further steps in relation to the subject matter pending the determination of the motion on notice, just as they called for the accelerated hearing of the suit.

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After hearing the submission of Nureini Jimoh (SAN), the court ordered an interim injunction restraining the defendants, either by themselves, agents, privies, principals, or any other persons from executing the proposed or draft “National Carrier” establishment between the Federal Government and the strategic equity partner (Ethiopian Airlines).

United Nigeria Chairman, Prof. Obiorah Okonkwo

The court also granted the order for an accelerated hearing of the suit. The order was adjourned to November 24th, 2022

Wole Shadare