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Nigeria: British Aviation Coy, AHS Ltd, Loses Legal Battle With Nigerian Partner

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British ground-handling company, Aviation Services International Ltd (AHS), has lost a two years legal battle against its Nigerian partner, Precision Aviation Handling Company Ltd (PAHCOL).

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja terminated the agreement between the two companies and awarded damages of N2 million to the plaintiff Precision Support Services Ltd, also known as AHS Aviation Handling Services Nigeria Ltd, in May 2023.

In his ruling, Justice Obiora Atuegwu Egwuatu said the defendant contravened the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Civil Aviation Act 2006, particularly Section 72 of the ground handling license.

The 49 pages judgment, seen by Nairametrics, therefore declared that the MoU signed on June 22, 2016, between the 3rd plaintiff and the 1st defendant, was in gross violation of the 1999 Constitution and the Civil Act 2006, and therefore was null and void. The court also ruled that the MoU signed in respect of aviation ground handling services in Nigeria had expired by effluxion of time on June 30 June 2017.

The court also stated that since the plaintiffs and defendant did not sign the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) as contemplated, the proposed agreement was, therefore, inchoate and liable to be terminated.

The judge said: “A declaration is made that the proposed Joint Venture between the claimants and the 1st defendant on aviation ground handling services in Nigeria and other subsequent agreements particularly the share acquisition agreement and shareholders agreement both dated 16th August 2016 are ex facie illegal for being in contravention of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the Aviation Act 2006 and the Foreign Exchange Act and therefore unenforceable.

“A declaration is made that the non-signing of a management agreement as contemplated by the parties to the joint venture is injurious to the operations and progress of the 3rd plaintiff in Nigeria.

“A declaration is made that the reasonable and inferable conclusion arising from the abandonment by the 1st defendant of its daily management role and funding of the 3rd claimant in accordance with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2018 is that they have abandoned and have totally lost interest in the proposed joint venture in aviation ground handling services in Nigeria.”

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