President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have to intervene in the matter between Arik Air Limited (In Receivership) of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following what aviation experts have termed ‘’overbearing activities of the anti-graft agency in the receivership matter, which is pending before the Court of Appeal, and therefore sub judicial.’’
During the previous administration, the EFCC was notorious for disregarding court orders, which the Tinubu administration experts warn must investigate. Under the Buhari presidency, sister agencies go for each other’s jugular with reckless abandon. But with the shameful suspension of the Chairman of the EFCC Chairman Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, over questionable circumstances, the Tinubu administration must not entertain any unprofessional conduct from Ministries Departments and Agencies of the government as was the case with the better-forgotten Muhammadu Buhari administration.
NewsBits gathered that the EFCC had earlier in the week (on Thursday) to be precise invited and detained the Receiver Manager (RM) of Arik Mr Kamilu Omokide following an alleged petition by an obligor – Sir Johnson Arumemi, the founder of Arik Air who disregarded the pendency of the case at the Court of Appeal and the provisions of the AMCON Act as amended. But since the Nigerian authorities are not intervening apparently because the government of President Bola Tinubu is just settling down, the Export Development Canada (EDC) has waded in and even fired a warning shot to the EFCC.
A leaked document from the EDC, which is in our possession, reads: “The Export Development Canada (EDC) has warned the Economic Financial and Crime Commission (EFCC) to lay off its Mortgage Rights, the CRJ 1000, which the crime commission is obstructing the owner from repossessing following a petition filed by Sir Johnson Arumemi, founder of Arik Air.
“Based on this some aviation observers are urgently calling upon the Nigerian state to protect the interests of international lenders, such as Export Development Canada (EDC), and other potential lenders closely monitoring the ongoing investigations by EFCC into the affairs of the Receiver Manager of Arik, as it relates to the enforcement of mortgage rights by EDC, in respect of a CRJ 1000 Aircraft owned by JEM Leasing. The handling of this matter will significantly impact their decisions on whether to invest in Nigeria’s fragile economy, in future.
“Recent events surrounding the unjustified interference by the EFCC further to a petition by Sir Johnson Arumemi Ikhide, in respect of the sale of an aircraft by JEM Leasing Limited in cooperation with financing provided by EDC, have raised concerns about the interference faced by lenders and the potential repercussions for Nigeria’s economic fortunes. It is imperative for the Nigerian government to prioritize the preservation of investor confidence and provide a stable and supportive environment for international lenders.
“The spurious allegations and mis-narrations circulating in the public domain, particularly that the Receiver Manager of Arik has superintended over the stripping of the CRJ 1000 Aircraft, without the knowledge of the owner of the said Aircraft – JEM Leasing Limited, is untrue. It is crucial to establish the truth and hold accountable those responsible for disseminating false information.
“EDC, as a Crown Corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada, plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth and development through investments in various projects worldwide. This episode superintended by the EFCC threatens not only future investments by EDC in Nigeria but also sends a discouraging message to other potential lenders considering investments in Nigeria,” the statement stated.
This sort of interference NewsBits gathered goes against the Cape Town protocol to which Nigeria is a signatory.