The chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema has threatened to sue the federal government if the airline is not paid adequate compensation for the loss it incurred for the disruption of its operations at the Enugu Airport earlier today.
He alleged a loss of millions of naira occasioned by the disruption of its flights by the manager of the airport, Mr. Mgbemena Orjiakor.
Onyema who described the action as “sabotage” said: “If we are not adequately compensated for our losses, we promise the government that we will go to court. This is part of the reasons why airlines in Nigeria do not survive.”
He said: “I got a call this that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) stopped our operations in Enugu over N7million naira debt, which we have already paid. The airport manager did not go back to check his books to know if we actually paid or not but hurriedly stopped our operations, a situation that is costing us millions of naira.
“We do not know if the airport manager is sponsored by someone to bring down Air Peace because even after Lagos sent evidence of the payment, rather than own up to the fact that the agency lacked proper accounting system, the agency said the airline is owing an outstanding N1.8 million. This is why I said this act is sabotage,” he said.
Onyema alleged that another airline that owes over N11billion to the government was allowed to operate that morning but Air Peace was temporarily shut down over N7million it already paid.
“When I called the Enugu Airport manager to complain to him about the situation, he answered me rudely, saying I was talking like a riffraff. This same airport manager does not know that he is employed today because of the airline. How can he call me riffraff?
“If we are not adequately compensated for our losses, we promise the government that we will go to court. This is part of the reasons why airlines in Nigeria do not survive,” he said.
Onyema added: “I had to call Saleh Dunoma, the managing director of FAAN who was not aware of the situation. He politely told me that he will handle it and he was very sorry about the situation. The director of commercials also got across to me and also told me he was looking into the situation and they will get back to me.
“The director of human resources also got across to me and pleaded with me. Orjiakor…will have to explain to the world who sent him because I believe this is outright sabotage. That station manager was not remorseful.”
Meanwhile, FAAN’s spokesman, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed that Air Peace had paid all its outstanding debts prior to the disruption of its operations.
Yakubu who apologized for the inconvenience the situation might have caused the airline and its passengers said FAAN would ensure there was no recurrence.