Nigeria Air: Court extends status quo order

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, renewed its order directing the Federal Government and domestic airlines to maintain status quo in their suit concerning the establishment of a proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air.

Trial judge, Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, made the order pending the determination of the suit by the Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited and Topbrass Aviation Limited.

Defendants in the suit are Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Sen. Hadi Sirika (Minister of Aviation, Federal Ministry of Aviation) and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Meanwhile, two “intervenors/applicants” Capt. Edward Boyo and Capt. Nogie Meggison, brought an application praying the court to strike out the name of The Registered Trustees of Airline Operators of Nigeria as a party in a suit, arguing that its inclusion in the suit “is invalid.”

The court had on November 15, restrained the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines from proceeding with the establishment of Nigeria Air Limited.

The judge also ordered parties to maintain the status quo, following the plaintiffs’ motion ex-parte in suit FHC/L/CS/2159/2022.

At the resumed hearing on the matter, yesterday, Mr. Nureni Jimoh, SAN, counsel to airline operators, tried to move his motion on notice for an injunction against the defendants but it was opposed by Mr. Seun Oriowo for Nigeria Air and Minister of Aviation, Mr. Raji Rasaki, for the AGF and Mr. Ajibola Salisu for the intervening applicants.

The judge turned down Raji’s argument for an adjournment for lawyers from the AGF’s Abuja office to take over the defence, rather than those from its Lagos office.

Mr. Bassey Attol for Ethiopian Airlines, informed the court that he had filed a response to Jimoh’s application, while Salisu’s prayer for an adjournment was opposed by Jimoh, on the ground that “the intervening applicant is not a party to this suit. He is an interloper here to disrupt proceedings.”

In his ruling, Justice Lewis-Allagoa held: “I’ve viewed all the applications before me. In the circumstances, the proper thing to do is for parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of this suit.”

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