A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till February 13 further proceedings in the suit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) seeking to stop the establishment of a proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa adjourned the suit following an application by lawyers representing Nigeria Air; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; seeking to transfer the case from the Federal High Court, Lagos to the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The lawyers cited jurisdiction issues as a major reason. They also said that some of the defendants who are not resident within the Judicial Division of the Honourable Court will be subjected to serious hardship in the event the suit proceeds to hearing.
Officials of the domestic airlines have, however, said that they will oppose the transfer of the case to Abuja as all the parties involved in this case are based in Lagos.
At the proceedings today, the court was told that the application for transfer was not ripe for hearing.
Justice Lewis-Allagoa also frowned at recent publications concerning the application which is yet to be heard.
He subsequently adjourned the case to February 13 to hear the application.
Domestic airlines had alleged that the sale of shares of the proposed Nigeria Air violated the Companies and Allied Matters Act as well as that of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
They, therefore, approached the court to stop the sale.
At the last sitting of the court in November 2022, Justice Lewis-Allagoa ordered the Federal Government and domestic airlines to maintain status quo in their suit relating to the establishment of airline.
The judge made the order pending the determination of the suit filed by the Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria and five others in the aviation industry.
Apart from the Airline Operators of Nigeria, the other plaintiffs are Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited and Topbrass Aviation Limited.
The first to fourth defendants are Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Sirika and Malami.