Chief Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide was on Wednesday arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over allegation of misappropriation of Arik Air’s debt running into N135bn.
Arumemi-Ikhide, who was whisked away by the operatives of the anti-graft agency at the premises of the airline in Lagos also ceased to be the Executive Chairman of Arik following the take-over of the airline by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.
The take-over was announced on Thursday in a statement released by AMCON.
The statement read partly, “From all indications, respite may have come the way of Arik Airlines currently immersed in heavy financial debt burden that is threatening to permanently ground the airline.
‘’For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55 per cent of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.
“The move, which clearly underscores government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector, has also prevented a major catastrophe that would, among other factors, protect and preserve Arik Airlines as a going concern.
“The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector.”