NIGERIAN aviation authorities have been given the go-ahead to confiscate an Emirates Airline Airbus after a Lagos high court authorised its seizure because it owes the country N8.1m ($22,103) worth of debts.
Emirates flies to Nigeria on a daily basis, with flights to both the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja. It appears that Emirates owes landing charges to the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (Faan) and following its refusal to pay up, the agency has dragged it to court.
In its ruling on the case a federal high court in Lagos ordered the detention of the Airbus aircraft sequel to a motion filed by Dr Charles Mekwunye seeking the enforcement of a Supreme Court judgment in a suit between Promise Mekwunye and the airline. In his judgement, Justice Mohammed Liman granted the reliefs sought by Dr Mekwunye.
He ruled: “It is accordingly ordered that an attachment is hereby issued on the judgment debtor’s aircraft registered as A6 Aircraft Type 77W EK: 783/784, or any other aircraft belonging to the judgment debtor which flies into Nigeria territory, to be arrested and detained until the judgment debt is fully paid. In default after 30 days, the aircraft shall be auctioned to satisfy the judgment debt.”
In addition, the judge also ordered that Emirates Airline shall bear the cost of maintenance and custody of the detained aircraft. It is not yet clear if Emirates intends to appeal the judgement or shall settle the debt immediately.