Minister of Aviation denies demanding 5 percent equity from Arik Air

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah on Friday denied the allegations of demanding five percent equity from the management of Arik Air.

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah

In a press statement released by Joe Obi, the Special Adviser to the Aviation Minister, Ms Oduah said the allegations “is absurd, malicious and ultimately laughable.”

The Vice-Chairman of Arik Air, Aniete Okon, while addressing journalists in Lagos on Thursday had said that the airline is being punished for its refusal to accede to the personal interest of Ms Oduah.

“This is a direct result to the rebuff that the minister suffered when she tried to promote personal rather than national interest,” Mr Okon had said.

An online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES reportedly quoted a source as specifically saying that “the Minister wants 5 percent share of Arik at all cost, which has been resisted by the Arik Chairman.”

Ms Oduah however said her “first impulse is to totally ignore this groundless falsehood. Except that it will send the wrong signals to the general public.”

In the statement, the Minister’s aide said the “5 percent equity story is without any foundation whatsoever.

“The Honorable Minister of Aviation could not have contemplated acquiring a stake in any airline, let alone Arik Air that is groaning from a crippling N85.4 billion debt overhang.

“The time is ripe for Arik Air to change its business module that ‘thrives’ on unprecedented accumulation of debts and liabilities. The futile attempt to impugn the integrity of the Aviation Minister by inferring a conflict of interest against her is at best diversionary. It should be obvious to the management of Arik Air that blackmail is not a panacea for a floundering enterprise,” the statement reads.

Mr Obi said the Minister has directed her lawyers to seek legal redress over the allegation by the management of Arik Air.

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