A little drama unfolded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, when the management of Arik Air prevented the Chairman/Founder of the airline, Chief Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, from accessing its premises.
Arumemi and his aides had arrived at the premises’ entrance following a recent court order, which granted him the right to the airline that had been taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2017.
Nevertheless, security officials refused to grant them access despite the court order.
AMCON had designated Kamilu Omokhide as a receiver manager after taking over the airline, compelling Arumemi to file an originating motion on December 14, 2021.
The request aimed to obtain a directive that would permit the directors and shareholders of Arik Air Ltd to freely access their offices, premises, facilities, and staff necessary for executing their duties.
The court ruled that the receivership of Arik Air did not preclude restricting access to the premises.
When Arumemi attempted to enter the premises of the airline on Tuesday, the security guards on duty informed him that they had received an order from the receiver manager not to allow him in.
Despite pleading with them, the security officials refused him entry, citing strict instructions from the receiver manager. Arumemi then proceeded to the police division at the airport to write a statement, promising to report back to his lawyers, who would take up the matter from there.
Speaking to the media, Arumemi said, “I was in the Arik Complex today under 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.
“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 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 11th April 2023. To my greatest surprise and shock, I was barred from entering 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.”
Arumemi further stated that he had tried to persuade the security officials by presenting certified copies of the court order, which had been earlier served on Arik Air, but his attempts were discountenanced.
He concluded by saying, “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.”
Meanwhile, all attempts to reach the Head of Corporate Communications of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Jude Nwauzor, proved abortive as he did not pick up or return calls made to his mobile number.