The federal government has asked Judge Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos to transfer a lawsuit brought by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) seeking to stop the establishment of a proposed national airline, Nigeria Air, to the division of Abuja del Corte.

The government, citing jurisdictional issues as one of the main reasons for the request, argued that some of the defendants who are not residents of the Judicial Division of the Honorable Court will be subject to severe hardship should the suit come. to an audience.

The application was filed by lawyers representing Nigeria Air, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami.

However, the claimants have notified the court that they will oppose the transfer of the case to Abuja as all the parties involved in this case are based in Lagos.

The five national airlines: Azman Air Services, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited, Topbrass Aviation Limited and Registered Trustees of the Airline Operator of Nigeria are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, while Nigeria Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami are the defendants in the matter.

The plaintiffs ask the court to stop the agreement with the national airline and withdraw the Air Transport License already issued to Nigeria Air by the Federal Government/Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

The airlines also claim that the firm that served as transaction adviser for the transaction was brought on board in March last year, alleging that the company is linked to the aviation minister.

They are also urging the court to award an N2bn against the defendants as damages for the harm they suffered and are still suffering as a result of their wrongful exclusion, wrongful action; illegal bidding and selection processes and incorrect forecasting for failure to submit a proper, correct and timely bid for the Nigeria Air project.

Hearing the case on Monday, Judge Lewis-Allagoa also frowned on recent posts about the yet-to-be-heard request.

It subsequently adjourned the case until February 13 for the application hearing.

The airlines are also asking the court in their lawsuit for an order directing the immediate, new and transparent bidding processes involving the Claimants, who are the indigenous Airline Operators in Nigeria entitled to participate in the process.

“An order directing the immediate revocation and cancellation of the Air Transport License (ATL) issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the First Defendant.

“A perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, officers, privates and directors from perfecting, continuing and transferring the operations of Nigeria Air from the third and fourth defendants to the second defendant,” it stated.

In an affidavit attached to the lawsuit, the applicants stated that they, among others, as private investors, took steps to participate in the bidding process, but were locked into an intricate web of political and personal interests, designed to achieve an outcome artificial contrary to the law. general interests of the Nigerian State and its citizens.

“The second defendant, which is not a private entity but a parastatal company of the Ethiopian government and its consortium, which is mostly foreigners, was quietly allowed to be the sole bidder and winner of the alleged bidding process.

“The tender proposal is designed and structured to end the national airlines and any possible form of competition through predatory ticket pricing, increase capital flight through the unrestricted repatriation of funds by the second defendant as guarantees the draft Agreement and harm consumers, the Nigerian people. and the economy.”