Condemnation trail Arik’s N387b debt estimate
A groundswell of condemnation has trailed alleged mismanagement Arik Airline following additional revelations by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) that the former managers systematically plunged the airline into N387 billion debt.
Former Director of Flight Operations at defunct Nigeria Airways, Capt. Dele Ore, heaped the blame on the door step of Arik Air Chairman for allegedly appropriating what he said was the property of Nigerians.
Ore said Nigerians are eagerly waiting for the KPMG report, which outcome he said would help the government to take appropriate action against former managers for deliberately leading the airline to its present pitiable state.
He said it would be most appropriate for the government to arrest and prosecute him to serve as deterrent to other business men like him. According to Ore: “He (Arik Chairman) previously depended on Federal protection, which some us knew would be short-lived as it has eventually played-out with change of government. With such huge debt profile no right-thinking government would continue to cover it up, which was why the government ordered AMCON to step in the fleet of 30 aircraft was fast disappearing among other discoveries.”
Speaking in the same vein, Managing Director, Merchant Express Cargo Airlines Limited, Capt. Sina Akinfenwa, said the revival of Arik could take two or more years because of the rot that was allowed to permeate the airline.
Akinfenwa said the airline collected aviation intervention fund but frittered it away. According to him: “I want Nigerians to ask the former managers of Arik what happened to that fund. At that time they collected the intervention fund, they claimed it was meant to bail out the airlines so what happened to the money?
“If it is gone should that government pump in another fund without asking questions? We are talking about billions of naira the government injected into Arik and other operators. Arik’s problem is primarily man-made because they were not doing the right thing. If you are doing the right thing, government will be willing to encourage you, but as it is now, how do you expect government to support you when you owe the same government so much money? “Be that as it may, the essence of business is that you are credit-worthy. You cannot ignore your creditors, which Arik was notorious for,” he said.