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Court vacates bench warrant on FAAN, NCAA chiefs


A federal High Court, Lagos yesterday vacated the bench warrant issued on the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, and his Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) counterpart, Muktar Usman, for their failure to appear in a contempt suit instituted in respect of ownership of two jets at the Lagos facility.

The Guardian had reported that airplanes, Bombardier 8 and Q300, formerly operated by Topbrass Aviation Services Limited, a local operator, were allegedly stolen in the nation’s economic capital.

The aircraft, with registration numbers 5N-TBB and 5N-TBC, have been the focus of a legal tussle between the lessor, Seagold Investment Limited, and Topbrass Aviation Services.

Some interested parties in the sector, however, allegedly acquired the facilities and relocated them contrary to the orders of the court.The planes were reportedly removed from the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) and stationed at the Aero Contractors’ Maintenance and Overhaul (AMO) hanger with their registration numbers removed, prompting Topbrass to file for contempt.

The trial judge, Justice Mohammed Hassan, had ordered the arrest of the duo following their failure to honour an earlier summons.But yesterday, counsel to the FAAN MD presented documents and affidavit of facts showing that his client was out of the country for an international conference and exhibition.

The lawyer to Topbrass argued that the documents were not persuasive enough to make the court vacate the order. Usman, on the other hand, through his counsel presented a scanned travel document and a medical report indicating that he was ill in Senegal.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Hassan held that he was more persuaded to vacate the arrest order given that anyone could fall sick at any time. He equally held that the office of the MD and not necessarily the occupier was more recognisable, adding that since the acting MD of the agency was in court, it should suffice.

The judge subsequently vacated the bench warrant on the two top officials of the aviation industry.Other respondents in the suit are Aero Contractors’ Managing Director, Ado Sanusi, and a pilot in the presidential fleet, Baba Mohammed.

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