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Drama as Arik chairman is prevented from entering office

By Benjamin Alade
12 April 2023   |   3:31 am
There was a mild drama, yesterday, at the headquarters of Arik Air Limited at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, as the Chairman/Founder of the airline, Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, was barred from entering the premises.

Arik Air Limited at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, as the Chairman/Founder of the airline, Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide,

•Arumemi-Ikhide reports incident to police
There was a mild drama, yesterday, at the headquarters of Arik Air Limited at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, as the Chairman/Founder of the airline, Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, was barred from entering the premises.

Arumemi-Ikhide, with some of his aides, had stormed the premises of the airline in line with the court order, which granted him access to the premises.

Recall that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had taken over the management of Arik in 2017 and appointed a receiver-manager, Kamilu Omokhide, for the airline.

In 2021, Arumemi-Ikhide, and his wife, Mary, (plaintiffs) filed an originating motion dated December 14 and prayed the court to declare that the duty imposed on the receiver-manager, Omokhide (first defendant) by section 553 of the CAMA 2020, to act in the best interest of Arik as a whole, includes the duty to act in the best interest of the plaintiffs as members of Arik.

Arumemi-Ikhide also sought an order directing the first and second defendants “to allow the directors and shareholders of Arik unfettered access to their offices, premises of the plaintiff, facilities and staff required for the discharge of their functions.”

In line with the court order, which ruled that the receivership of Arik does not preclude restricting access to the premises, the founder attempted to enter the premises of the airline yesterday.

However, he was stopped at the entrance by the security guards on duty.

The chief security officer (CSO) of the airline identified as D Tom-West said there was an order from above not to allow him access to the premises.

In the ensuing argument, the CSO said he is only answerable to the receiver-manager as one of his employees.

He said: “The receiver manager gave an instruction not to allow you in.

“I am not aware of the court order. We cannot give you access to get into the compound. This is the instruction from above.

“I am very sorry that I am keeping you people under the sun. We have the directive to deny you access. I am obliged to respect the directive from the receiver manager.”

Arumemi-Ikhide had told the CSO that he was not at the premises to harass anybody or cause any problem but to enforce the order of the court which granted him access to the premises of the airline.

He said he had a meeting with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer that he would be coming around today (Tuesday) and that some offices should be reserved for him, to which they agreed.

He said he was astonished that he was being denied access to the premises.

The Chairman later left the premises and proceeded to the MMA Domestic Airport Division of the Nigeria Police Force (NFC) where he entered a statement.

He said he would report back to his lawyers who would take up the matter from there.

Speaking with journalists after writing a statement at the police station, Arumemi-Ikhide, explained: “I was in the Arik Complex today pursuant to the order of the Federal High Court in the suit no FHC/L/CS/1175/2021 that I should be given unfettered access into my offices in Arik Air to perform my duties with my team.

“The court has affirmed that notwithstanding the appointment of a Receiver Manager, the organs of Arik Air remain intact and those organs such as the board and shareholders must be allowed to function.

“It is because of that that I, being chairman of the board, came to the office today. Being aware of the service of the order of the court on the company and having met the management led by Capt Roy Ilegbodu (CEO) on Wednesday, April 4, 2023, with whom I discussed the orders made by the court and our intentions to adhere strictly to including the orders of the court to be given office spaces.

“We both agreed that the orders of the Court must be obeyed. We agreed that I and my team will resume this morning April 11, 2023, to my greatest surprise and shock I have been barred entry by the CSO, Tom West who claimed that he has strict instructions from the Receiver Manager Omokide to deny me and my team access contrary to the orders of the court.”

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