Airline Takeover: Arik Air Accuses AMCON’s Lawyer Of Professional Misconduct

…Adjourns Case To May 15

The Federal High Court in Lagos today deferred rulings on two preliminary objections arising from the takeover of Arik Air Limited by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria(AMON) till May 15, 2017.

AMCON had on February 8, 2017 taken over of thy one of the nation’s airline Arik Air Limited.

The corporation said it took over Arik Air Limited to save the airline from collapse and in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other interest groups in the aviation sector.

AMCON had appointed a legal practitioner, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN) of the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP, as the Receiver Manager of Arik Air Limited following its takeover by AMCON.

By an ex parte application on February 8, AMCON secured an injunction restraining Arik Air Limited’s “shareholders, directors, creditors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, agents, representatives, privies” from interfering Opasanya’s power to manage Arik.

But four persons, who were aggrieved by the court order – Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Chris Ndule, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Engineer Sangowawa Olubiyi – filed a preliminary objection through their lawyer, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN) to the suit.

They accused the lawyer representing AMCON and Opasanya, Prof. Kayinsola Ajayi (SAN), of engaging in professional misconduct and urged the court to void all the processes so far filed by Kanyinsola Ajayi on behalf of AMCON and Opasanya.

The ground of their objection was that Ajayi and Opasanya are both lawyers practising in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP.

Counsel to Arik, Koku, argued that by virtue of Rule 17 of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007, neither Ajayi nor any other lawyer from the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP could appear in a case where Opasanya is a plaintiff.

Opposing the preliminary objection, however, Ajayi argued that there was a distinction between Opasanya and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP, where Opasanya works and that there was no law stopping anyone from the law firm from representing Opasanya.

Besides, Ajayi also filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of Koku’s clients to file the preliminary objection.

He argued that they were no parties in the suit in question, which AMCON and Opasanya filed against Arik and the Inspector-General of Police.

He described them as interlopers who should not be heard and urged the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, to dismiss the preliminary objection by Koku’s clients.

After hearing both preliminary objections, Justice Idris adjourned till May 15, 2017 for ruling on the objection.


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