Nigeria’s major carrier Arik Air has claimed its flights were disrupted on Friday by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) against court order that directed the airline should be allowed to operate flights uninterrupted.
Arik said the agency disrupted its operations at the domestic General Aviation Terminal and international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, as workers of the agency prevented Arik Air from gaining access to the Airside of both terminals.
According to the airline, access to the airside was critical and fundamental to the airline’s operations for moving catering, supplies and other sundry items to the aircraft, as well as the movement of its personnel to ready the aircraft for departure.
“This access is also necessary for the airline to conduct secondary security screening, mandatory security checks and for securing the aircraft at all times in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practice,” Arik said.
The airline noted that this was not the first time that FAAN had taken the law into its own hands as it had resorted to such strong-arm tactics against the airline in the past and most recently in May this year.
“It is already in the public domain that Arik Air and FAAN have a lingering disagreement on the long-standing and unsubstantiated claim by FAAN of spurious indebtedness of the airline to the agency which is now before the Federal High Court in Lagos, at the instance of FAAN,” Arik also said.
It said FAN and Arik were reconciling payment accounts between the institutions over the charges paid by Arik Air to date and in this regard ,Arik Air had been providing all the needed assistance and cooperation to conclude the reconciliation process.
“However, FAAN has shown total disregard for the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by carrying out such disruptive action again,” the airline said.
It recalled that in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1558/2015 brought by FAAN against Arik Air before a Federal High Court in Lagos, the court on 20 June, 2016 had ordered that both parties maintain status quo ante-bellum until Ruling on the Ex-parte is delivered.
The matter was further adjourned to 10 October, 2016.
On several occasions in the past weeks, Arik Air has equally served the order of the court to FAAN since they claimed ignorance of the ruling.
”Blatant defiance of the laws of the country and disrespect to the High Court should not be tolerated and we appeal to the judiciary to intervene in this matter and take appropriate action to uphold the laws of the nation..
“This unjustifiable disruption by FAAN has further inconvenienced the travel plans of thousands of passengers who were already affected due to the acute scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in the recent weeks,” the airline also said.
It apologised to its esteemed passengers for any inconvenience experienced due to this unwarranted disruption and unlawful action by FAAN.
FAAN was not on hand to confirm the incident.
IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected
The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.
Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.
IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.
Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.
Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.
The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.
While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.
Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse
The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.
In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.
President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.
Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.
The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.
Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.
The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.
However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.
As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.
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