Drama as AMCON denies Arik founder access to premises amid litigations

Founder of Arik Air, Chief Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide was Tuesday at Arik headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos barred from gaining access to the premises of the airline by the Receiver Manager, Mr.Kamilu Omokhide appointed by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

AMCON had last week appealed an order by a Federal High Court granting his many requests, chief of which is access to the carrier’s premises, a ruling AMCON appealed.

Arumemi-Ikhide had gone to Arik Air headquarters with some of his aides in line with the court order which granted him access to the premises.

The AMCON had taken over the management of Arik Air in 2017 and appointed a Receiver-Manager, Kamilu Omokhide for the airline.

 

Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide

However, in 2021, Sir Johnson Arumemi Ikhide, and his wife, Mary Arumemi Ikhide (plaintiffs) filed an originating motion dated December 14, 2021, and prayed the court that the duty imposed on the receiver-manager, Kamilu Omokhide (first defendant) by section 553 of the CAMA 202O to act in the best interest of Arik Air Limited as a whole, includes the duty to act in the best interest of the plaintiffs (Arumemi and Mary Ikhide) as members of Arik Air Limited.

Arumemi-Ikhide also sought an order directing the 1st & 2nd defendants “to allow the Directors and Shareholders of Arik Air Ltd unfettered access to their offices, premises of the Plaintiff, facilities, and staff required for the discharge of their functions.”

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Based on the court order which ruled that the receivership of Arik Air does not preclude restricting access to the premises, the Arik Air Founder today made an attempt to access the premises of the airline but was stopped at the entrance by the security guards on duty.

The Chief Security Officer of the airline simply identified as Tom-West, who was part of those who stopped the Chairman, said there was an order from above not to allow him access to the premises.

The CSO said he is only answerable to the Receiver-Manager of the airline since he is one of the employees of the company.

“The receiver manager gave an instruction not to allow you in. I am not aware of the court order. We cannot give you access to get into the compound. This is the instruction from above. I’m very sorry that I’m keeping you people under the sun.

“We have the directive to deny you access.  I’m obliged to respect the directive from the receiver manager, ” the CSO.

Arumemi-Ikhide told the CSO that he was not at the premises to harass anybody or cause any problem but to carry out the Court’s order which granted him to access the premises of the airline.

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He said he had a meeting with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer that he would be coming around on Tuesday and that some offices should be reserved for him which they agreed.

Arumemi-Ikhide wondered why he was denied access to the premises despite the agreement he had with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer.

To avoid a further argument, the Arik founder left the premises and proceeded to the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Airport Division of the Nigeria Police where he lodged a complaint and was asked to write a statement.

On his next move, the Arik Founder said he would report back to his lawyers who would take up the matter from there.

Speaking, Arumemi-Ikhide said, ‘I was in the Arik complex today pursuant to the order of the federal high court in the suit no FHC/L/CS/1175/2021 that I should be given unfettered access into my offices in Arik Air offices order to perform my duties with my team. The court affirmed that notwithstanding the appointment of a Receiver Manager, the organs of Arik Air remain intact and those organs such as the Board and Shareholders must be allowed to function. It is because of that that I being chairman of the board came to the office today.

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“Being aware of the service of the order of the court on the company and having met the management led by Capt Roy Ilegbodu (CEO) on Wednesday 4th April 2023 with whom I discussed the orders made by the court and I our intentions to adhere strictly to including the orders of the court to be given office spaces. We both agreed that the orders of the Court must be obeyed”.

“We agreed that I and my team will resume this morning April 11, 2023, but to my greatest surprise and shock I was barred entry by the CSO, Mr. Tom West who claimed that he has strict instructions from the Receiver Manager Mr. Kamilu Omokide to deny me and my team access contrary to the orders of the court. Every persuasion with certified copies of the orders of the court, earlier served on Arik Air by the court was discountenanced. As a law-abiding citizen, we decided not to press any further by ourselves but rather fall back to the processes of the law by reporting to appropriate authorities,” he said

Wole Shadare