A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Nuhu Musa, from issuing an Air Operator’s Certificate to the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air.
This development came several months after the proposed national airline got Air Transport Licence from the NCAA as the Ministry of Aviation stepped up plans to float a national carrier.
Some domestic airlines are in court seeking to stop the Federal Government from partnering with Ethiopian Airlines to float a national carrier.
The latest court order prohibits any step being taken in relation to the Nigeria Air project until further notice. The order was obtained by the domestic carriers.
Justice Lewis Allagoa granted orders of interim and interlocutory injunctions in the terms contained in the order, restraining the relevant parties from taking any step in relations to the Nigeria Air project.
In a letter dated 19th April, 2023 to notify the NCAA of the restraining order by the plaintiff’s lawyer Abubakar Nuhu Ahmed, (of Nureini Jimoh Chambers) read in pa, “You are therefore notified to desist from dealing with the Minister/the Ministry of Aviation and/ or their agents, privies or representatives, pertaining the Air Operator Certificate, subject matter of the suit, to avoid consequences of disobedience of court orders”.
“As a law abiding regulatory agency, you are under the watchful eyes of the world and it is in your interest to desist from any further action on AOC process that will ridicule the integrity of the Agency before the local media as well as the global aviation community.”
The Federal Government had through the Ministry of Aviation revealed in March that Nigeria Air would begin local and international flights soon, despite the controversies and legal dispute.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made this revelation at the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023 in Abuja.
“Negotiation meeting with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria ongoing. Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly,” the minister said.
Speaking further, the minister said the benefits Nigeria stands to derive from the establishment of the national carrier are reduced capital flight from Nigeria; gain the optimal benefit of BASA and SAATM and develop an aviation hub.
Also, the National carrier will contribute to the GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.