AMCON is on a salvage mission in Arik—Receiver Manager

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*L-R: The Media Consultant To AMCON, Mr. Simon Tumba, the Receiver Manager, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, and the CEO, Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu at a media briefing at the airline’s headquarters, Lagos.

…Arik will take legal action against its takeover by AMCON—Sanusi

The receiver manager of Arik Air, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya has said that the takeover of Arik Air by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) will rescue, enhance, and sustain the airline’s operations to provide satisfactory service to air passengers.

Opasanya spoke in Lagos shortly after AMCON had announced its takeover of the airline.

He said AMCON having consulted widely with the federal government had appointed him to superintend over the affairs of the airline to sustain and improve its services while Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu was made the new managing director.

“AMCON will ensure that it supports the airline with people of great knowledge and experience to improve the fortunes of the airline,” he said.

Opasanya said he had earlier addressed the workers on the new development and the need to keep the airline flying.

He said Arik Air plays a pivotal role in the airline industry in the country.

“AMCON is willing to support the operations of Arik Air together with the support of the government to meet the essential needs of the company,” he said.

Opasanya added that AMCON would reach out to other creditors of the airline, both foreign and local in order to secure their co-operation and commitment.

“AMCON is willing to support the operations of Arik and together with government we will meet the immediate essential needs of the airline. We are aware that there is a need to reach out to other creditors both foreign and local in order to secure their cooperation and commitment of the business. I hope the media will convey these messages to the stakeholders that will enhance and not bring down the airline.’

On the airline’s debts to AMCON, Opasanya described it as “huge” but declined put any figure to it.

He said AMCON’s mission was not to talk about the airline’s huge indebtedness but how to rescue it from total collapse.

“For now, I would prefer not to mention figures. The mission is to rescue the airline and if we begin to talk about the nature of indebtedness, the information may be harmful. Management believes in the commitment I have made and believe in the airline” he said.

Opasanya said he had met with the workers and management of the airline earlier adding that through the media they would inform other stakeholders of AMCON’s commitment to keep the airline flying.

On the next step he would take, Opasanya said: “The next step is to run the business, make staff happy and keep the airline’s airplanes in the air.

Meanwhile, the deputy managing director of Arik Air, Capt. Ado Sanusi said the airline would challenge its takeover by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

He said the airline had agreed to comply with the court’s order directing AMCON to take over the management of the airline, but the “airline will challenge the decision to the highest court in the land.”

“We were served with the court order this morning (February 9); Arik Air will comply with the order. The airline has the right to challenge the order and will challenge the court order.

“We might disagree on certain issues but we have agreed that air’s operations should continue and not be paralysed.

“We will make our position known to our various stakeholders and partners; we will challenge this order to the highest level,” he said

It would be recalled that AMCON had earlier announced its takeover of the airline that had been struggling with huge debts amounting to about N139 billion.

AMCON said in a statement issued in Lagos that it had appointed Ilegbodu as the managing director under the receivership of Opasanya.

It stated that the airline, which carries about 55 per cent of the load in the country, “has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.”

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