The Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by the Honourable Justice Ambrose Lewis- Allagoa has adjourned to 13th February 2023,the hearing on the preliminary request before it on transferring suit no:FHC/L/CS/2159/22/283 filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to Abuja.
The judge have the timeline of one month for counsel to the plaintiffs to study the request of the Federal Government to have the case transferred to Abuja from Lagos.
The suit instituted by the plaintiffs is requesting the court’s thorough examination of the process to birth a national airline, Nigeria Air and if the modus operandi adopted by the government in establishing the airline, is fair, and whether it would pose a threat to the existing indigenous operators in the Nigeria airspace and threat to the national economy.
At the weekend however, Defendants, Nigeria Air; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Attorney General of the Federation filed a Motion of Notice with backing affidavits, seeking the Federal High Court in Lagos to transfer the suit filed against them on the suspended National carrier to The Federal High Court in Abuja, citing various reasons including costs and jurisdiction.
The Motion which was filed January 13, 2023 prayed the Court for an Order transferring the suit, no:FHC/L/CS/2159/22/283 to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja judicial division for determination, being the judicial division of this Court wherein all the Defendants reside and carry on substantial part of their business.
The Motion also sought for such order or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.The Motion was also supported with affidavits by counsel to the 1st, 3rd and 4th Defendants.
Determination of the Motion for the Transfer of the case to Abuja will be heard 13th February, 2023.
Meanwhile, the AON executives on Monday filed a countersuit to the claim of two of its Board of Trustees (BoT) who had counter sued the legal action of the body’s authority to sue the Federal Government and distanced themselves from the action.
The two, Captain Edward Boyo and Captain Nogie Megisson a former AON Chairman had on November 23 filed an application praying the court to strike out the name of The Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria as a party in a suit arguing that its inclusion in the suit “is invalid”.
According to their reasons for the prayer the maintained, “There was no meeting of either the members, the National Executive Council or the Board of Trustees of the 18 Plaintiff wherein any decision/resolution was taken to institute this present suit.
The AON filed a countersuit which showed the minutes of the meeting where it was agreed that the AON should pursue both the legal and political options for redress on the issue of Nigeria Air.
It was learnt that the entire AON members at the meeting, including one of the former chairmen who filed the suit, was at the meeting where the decision was reached to challenge the emergence of the airline.