The domestic carrier, backed by Nigerian air carrier, disputed outgoing Aviation Minister Senator Hadi Sirika’s plan to start Nigerian Airways operations on Friday (today), despite a court ruling on the controversial A restraining order was placed on the project.
AON’s lawyers therefore wrote to the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), asking him to stop the minister’s attempt to “evade court orders and potentially cover up the truth on Friday, the last working day of this administration. “All sorts of violations of Nigerian law, and so on. “
Local operators also said they would sue the minister in contempt of court over his plans to start the operator amid a court order to halt the project.
In a letter signed by AON lawyers headed by Abubakar Nuhu Ahmad of Nureini Jimoh Chambers titled “Nigeria Aviation Project: Last minute plan to disobey court order and deliberately plan to undermine achievements of this government”, the local airline said Sirika chose The last working day of the executive branch, in violation of the court order on the project, brought in two aircraft.
The local airline therefore urged the president to stop the illegal actions of the minister. AON noted that flying two planes painted in the livery of Nigerian Airways “was a clever way of violating a court order”.
President Buhari was reminded that the lawsuit “is to challenge improper dealings, deliberate violation of Nigerian laws and self-enrichment/corruption mainly by the Ministry of Aviation” on the Nigerian aviation project.
The letter was copied to the Federal Attorney General, the Police Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
It reads: “We are counsel for Nigerian Airlines (“our client”). Our client brought the above suit primarily in relation to the Nigerian Airways Project for improper dealings against the Federal Ministry of Aviation, willful violation of Nigerian laws and self-enrichment question.
“In the proceedings, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Hon. Judge AL Allagoa in the said proceedings granted an interim and interlocutory injunctive order restricting any steps taken in relation to the Nigerian Airlines project on the terms contained in the order . A copy of each Order is attached as Attachments 1, 2 and 3.
“Your Excellency is well aware that the handover of government will take place on Monday 29th May 2023 but the honorable Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika plans to circumvent the court order on Friday 26th May 2023 which is the last working day of the Government .the current government, and possibly covering up various violations of Nigerian law, etc.
This was revealed in an interview Hon gave yesterday. Channels Television Minister and others went viral on social media. The Minister is planning to rush in to bring in two (2) aircraft and pretend that Nigerian Airways is already in operation.
“Apart from the moral justification for conducting business after the minister’s final day in office, this is a clever way of breaching a court order. This action does not consider whether it will tarnish the record of this administration, whether it will cover up the corruption alleged in the lawsuit conduct and willful violation of a court order for self-interest.
“We therefore engage you to block this action by the Minister of Aviation, to ensure compliance with the terms of the order and to avoid unnecessary controversy over this action after your term expires.
“Nevertheless, our client will continue to pursue contempt of court action against the individual minister, whether he leaves office or not, in order to promote the rule of law, protect the integrity of the courts and in line with international best practice.”