NG Eagle, the controversial start-up airline created by the Receiver Manager of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to start his own airline from the assets of Arik Air may have run into another bad weather, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Information reaching SaharaReporters confirmed that Capt. Kiddie Dare, the Managing Director and Capt. Sulaiman Samaila, the Chief Pilot of NG Eagle resigned their appointments in the first week of February 2024. NG Eagle which started commercial operations with two wet-leased Airbus aircraft on December 1, 2023, without any 5N registered aircraft was issued NG/AOC/09’21(001) on September 21, 2021, valid until September 20, 2023.
It was allowed to be active without any commercial operation and extended for another six months to pave the way for NG Eagle to commence operations without any deference to civil aviation regulations but citing the Director General’s discretion.
SaharaReporters learnt that the airline had wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to start commercial operations on December 1, 2023.
This is despite that the start-up was against Nigerian aviation regulations which state that a commercial airline cannot start with wet-leased aircraft but with Nigerian-registered (5N) aircraft.
But Capt Chris Najomo, the Acting Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) maintained that the airline followed due process to obtain its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) regardless of the warning of the disobedience of the order of the Federal High Court judgement of March 31, 2023 which voided the attempted transfer of three (3) 737NG aircraft, one (1) Manufacturer Serial Number 34761 original registration number 5N-MJE purportedly now registered as 5N-BXX (with NG Eagle), two (2) Manufacturer Serial Number 33944 original registration 5N-MJG purportedly now registered as 5N-BXW (with NG Eagle livery), three (3) Manufacturer Serial Number 35638 original registration 5N-MJN purportedly transferred to Super Bravo Nigeria Limited and/or NG Eagle Limited now registered as 5N-BXV (with NG Eagle livery) to both NG Eagle and Super Bravo Nigeria Limited for the start-up of operations of NG Eagle.
NG Eagle (with RC Number 1600277) was a project started by the state-owned AMCON led by Alhaji Ahmed Kuru with the aim of transferring to it the assets of Arik Air (W3, Lagos).
AMCON had eight years ago taken over Arik Airline.
According to the Corporate Affairs Commission’s records, NG Eagle was incorporated on July 11, 2019, with AMCON’s employee, Kamilu Omokide (Arik Receiver Manager) as Shareholder/Director and AMCON as second shareholder with other AMCON employees as Directors. The Federal High Court had upheld: “This is a breach of fiduciary duties to Arik by Kamilu Omokide and AMCON.” According to some Arik shareholders, Alhaji Kuru, the AMCON Managing Director also deliberately failed to inform Nigerians that the establishment and expenses for the NG Eagle AOC were funded from the proceeds of Arik sales.
“The buyer of the NG Eagle, who Mr Kuru camouflaged as an investor, is Alhaji Abdul Ahmad, an acquaintance of Alhaji Kuru and bureau de change operator, selling foreign exchange to Arik in Receivership,” a source said.
It will be recalled that NG Eagle commenced operations with ground staff and pilots seconded by Arik Air to forcefully take possession of the Arik 737NGs notwithstanding the orders of the Federal High Court which were used to obtain an AOC until the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which was investigating the alleged fraud and economic crimes in the AMCON receivership of Arik Air tagged the aircraft exhibits of crime and warded off all attempts to use them.
According to an NCAA official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the resignation of the key post holders of NG Eagle such as the Managing Director and the Chief Pilot who are critical to the AOC renewal process will expose the aberrations and impunity with which the AOC was granted in the first instance.
The turnover of the leadership of NG Eagle is not surprising and speaks to the lack of transparency and due process organisation of the company.
Alhaji Abubakar, an industry observer, recalled that Capt. Ado Sanusi, a former Deputy Managing Director of Arik Air Limited was the pioneer Accountable Manager/Managing Director of NG Eagle, but his resignation was not announced until he resurfaced at Aero Contractors from where AMCON seconded him to birth NG Eagle.
He lamented the dodgy nature of the setup of NG Eagle but was not surprised at how it was turning out in less than three months of operation.
Attempts by SaharaReporters to get the reaction of the management of NG Eagle were unsuccessful as of press time while everybody in the NCAA spoke on condition of anonymity since NG Eagle owner’s influence across the NCAA and the Ministry of Aviation was enormous enough to get anyone fired.