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AMCON names Opasanya new boss for annexed Arik Air as firm begins court action

Fresh drama is unfolding as the embattled Arik Air is set to challenge last week’s takeover by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in court this week.

This is as AMCON has appointed immediate deputy managing director of Arik Air, Capt. Ado Sanusi as the chief executive officer of Aero Contractors, another embattled airline.

Sanusi resumes today at Aero. The spokesman of AMCON, Jude Nwauzor confirmed the appointment and said that since Akinkuotu was given appointment by the federal government, the Corporation has to find a replacement for him.

He is expected to inject his wealth of experience which experts say failed to lift Arik into Aero even as former Aero boss, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, is now the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

Sanusi, who was also the Head of Flight Operations at Arik Air is said to be best suited for the job of rebuilding Aero and bringing his experience to bear on rejuvenating the airline, which was once the most popular operator in Nigeria’s domestic market.

It was not clear how the scenario will play out this week as Capt Sanusi who resumes today in Aero said in a media briefing that Arik will seek legal interpretation of the entire logjam as it affects Arik.

Sanusi made the revelation during a joint media briefing with the newly appointed receiver Manager, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN) and the airline’s technical consultant, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu.

Arik said “As responsible citizens, we have obeyed the court order which appointed the Olaniwun Ajayi (SAN) as the receivership manager.

“We will comply but I want to make it clear that we have a right to challenge the court order.

“In the coming days, we will make our position known. It is a court order and we can challenge it and we will challenge it to the highest court of authority,” Sanusi said.

While explaining that the legal battle will not disrupt the activities of the airline which suddenly began series of advertorials to raise visibility and douse fears of going under due to the developments, analysts say AMCON by law is entitled to takeover firms that are about to go down on grounds of over bloated loan, especially when both public and private funds are involved.

In his comments, the new overseer, Opasanya insisted that AMCON is on a rescue mission to reposition Arik, saying “AMCON has been a creditor to Arik for some time. It also has security over substantial parts of the assets of Arik”.

“The debt of Arik to AMCON has not been paid and huge sums of money is owed. So AMCON, having consulted widely with government authorities, has decided to appoint me to preside over the affairs of Arik.

“So we have come to supervise the operation, sustain the operation, improve services and ensure that we support Arik with people of deep knowledge, experience and commitment in the airline industry.”

According to him, Arik plays a pivotal role in the airline industry and many Nigerians are currently drawing their means of livelihood from the company.

“We have addressed the workers and the management and we want to assure other stakeholders and members of the public that the desire of AMCON is to keep the airline flying.

“AMCON is willing to support the operation of Arik and together with the government, work to meet the immediate essential needs of the company, “he said.

On his part, Mr. Ilegbodu said Arik had 28 aircraft in its fleet but only 10 are currently being used for operations.

He said his duty as technical consultant was to get to the root of the problems bedeviling the airline to ensure its sustainability.

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