The decision to transfer the suit filed by Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the apex body of airlines operating in Nigeria challenging the process of the appointment of Ethiopian Airlines as the core investor will come up on April 25th, 2023 at the Federal High Court Abuja.
The operators had approached the court seeking to interpret the law as it affects the process of procuring the services of Ethiopian Airlines for the operation of the proposed Nigeria Air.
Hearing in the objection brought by AON to the order to transfer the matter to the Abuja division of the Federal High Court was concluded Wednesday before Justice James Omotosho, who fixed April 25 to rule on the matter.
Justice Omotosho further adjourned the matter to April 25 after adopting all processes filed by the AON and the defendants including the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Ethiopian Airlines.
In contesting the process of appointing Ethiopian Airiness for the management of the proposed Nigeria Air, AON argued that the Ministry of Aviation ignored the legally mandatory stages of the public procurement process as stipulated in the law establishing the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
According to AON, the law mandated the advertisement of the appointment of an operator for the proposed airline in three national newspapers. It told the court that the federal government ignored the law by advertising only in two national newspapers and one foreign newspaper.
AON further argued that the law could be breached only in emergency situations where the National Assembly could not convene to amend it, adding that, there is no emergency in the process of appointing an operator for Nigeria Air to warrant a transgression of the law.
The AON said that despite the matter advancing towards a conclusion at the Federal High Court in Lagos; it was suddenly transferred to Abuja.
It argued that there was no extraneous situation to warrant the transfer of the suit to the Abuja division of the court even after the matter had reached an advanced stage with a restraining order on the federal government to maintain the status quo pending the final determination of the suit.