By Tordue Salem
The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation Wednesday directed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA to put on hold the issuing of Air Operators’ Certificate, (AOC) to the Nigeria Eagle Airline being midwife by the ASSET Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).
The Committee on Aviation gave the directive in Abuja on Wednesday, following a petition jointly addressed to the Chairman, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji by the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, (ANAP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) branch of the National Union of Pensioners, (NUP),
AMCON according to the petitioners has acquired Arik Air properties and decided to change name to Nigeria Eagle Airline to evade payment of the monumental debts owed to all the aviation agencies by Arik Air. AMCON had for the past four years taken over Arik Air on receivership due to its insolvency.
They (petitioners) further alleged that AMCON has changed Arik Air aircraft to Nigeria Eagle Airline which showed that it has fully acquired Arik Air assets but wanted to abdicate its liabilities through a name change.
ANAP and NUP affirmed that they were petitioning the committee to restrict NCAA from issuing AOC to Nigeria Eagle Airline to avoid a repeat of what happened in the case of Bellview Airlines which transformed to First Nation Airways and the aviation agencies ended up losing billions of naira owed by the defunct Bellview Airlines.
The committee resolved to investigate the alleged plan by AMCON to float Nigeria Eagle Airline with Arik assets to ascertain the true situation and ensure that the aspect of the liabilities are duly resolved.
The chairman, Honourable Nnaji emphasized that, ” if truly AMCON is taking over the assets of Arik Air and handing them over to another legal entity the aspect of liabilities must be addressed so that public funds are not lost”.
” You cannot acquire assets and leave liabilities. It is not done, we are not going to allow it because apart from Arik’s indebtedness to the agencies, the 25% statutory remittances of the agencies to the Consolidated Accounts is there too” Honourable Nnaji further stressed.