Air Nigeria has been in the news lately. After the black Sunday crash of Dana Air, rumours started brewing that the airline has been grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA). The management of Air Nigeria confronted this rumour with a denial. It was confirmed that they were only temporary prevented from operations in other to carry out routine audit. Apparently this was only temporary as Air Nigeria is back again on the news table, this time around it’s the invasion of their office by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
I got this email from Air Nigeria this morning. The press release is reproduced below:
18 June 2012
INVASION OF AIR NIGERIA OFFICE BY FIRS
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) stormed Air Nigeria office on Monday, 18 June 2012, with mobile policemen armed with guns to demand for past taxes allegedly owed during the period when Mr. Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic was running Virgin Nigeria, now Air Nigeria. These taxes have been in dispute and needed to be reconciled and agreed upon.
The FIRS is however not patient with such reconciliations but resorted to a military approach in a civilian era.
Air Nigeria is not indebted to the government on current taxes since the acquisition of the airline by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, OFR. We therefore consider the FIRS action as uncivilized and condemnable.
We are at a loss as to what the FIRS has been doing for the past 8 years without collecting the taxes from previous management of the airline. We assure the general public that Air Nigeria cannot be intimidated by this crude approach and will not be ready to give bribe to any person no matter how highly placed. We will brief the general public as the issue progresses.
It should be noted that since the commencement of international operations on the Lagos – London route, Air Nigeria has become the object of an orchestrated attacks that show clearly that this is a case of the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. In following the external influence, local staff of the airline went on strike in May for May salary which the management has resolved amicably.
As the airline was coming out of that, the news of it being grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) infiltrated town. Again, as the airline was coming out of this with a clean bill of health, barely two days after, the airline is yet invaded in a military manner. We suspect that one other line of action will be coming in the coming week to further attempt to damage us in the public eye; but we assure the instigator of such uncivilized approach that Air Nigeria will not compromise its corporate values and development strategy.
Media Relations Manager