Is AMCON’S move ploy to convert Arik Air to national carrier?

FOR THE RECORDS: Minister vows to resign if Abuja Airport runway work exceeds 6 weeks

Insinuations that the Federal Government, through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), may have had some other clandestine motives for the take-over of Arik Air are beginning to fly in the air.

One such allegation gained attention on Monday as the Association of Concerned Aviation Professionals (ACAP) formally voiced its opposition to AMCON’S intervention in Arik, alleging that its action was purely meant to convert Nigeria’s largest airline into a national carrier.

In a statement signed by its Secretary, Justin Nwokolo, the group said, “We know that the airline has faced some challenges lately and some passengers have even expressed concern about its services. But cutting off the head is not the cure for a headache.

“We strongly believe this course of action is motivated by the pursuit of a cabal’s selfish interest masquerading as public good with the deployment of a ruthless propaganda machine to give it a gloss.”

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It queried in unmistakable terms FG’s real intentions, asking, “How laughable that the same Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) hired the erstwhile Deputy Managing Director of the same management it accused of ‘poor corporate governance’ as new CEO of AERO Contractors on the very day it forcibly took over the company. Who is fooling who?”

“The agenda is to bring together Arik Air and AERO to form what they call a new national carrier and bring in Ethiopian Airways as technical partner,” the aviation professionals alleged.

In other stinging attacks, ACAP accused AMCON of incompetence alleging that, “If AMCON itself is a good business manager, how come AERO, which had nine aircraft when AMCON took it over five years ago, now has only two aircraft in its fleet?

“We believe the action of AMCON was to preempt a crucial meeting the suspended management of the airline was scheduled to have with Afreximbank in Cairo, Egypt this week to unlock massive capital injection to refinance its operations, which had been hampered by the forex crisis.”

AMCON had predicated its actions on the Arik’s inability to service its debt and meet its obligations to service providers. The forced take over occurred barely 24 hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interrogated the chairman of the suspended Arik board, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide.


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