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<strong>Air Peace Sues NLC, TUC Over Flight Disruptions</strong>

Air Peace Sues NLC, TUC Over Flight Disruptions 

Air Peace is suing the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress for $1.7 billion in damages.

By Omotayo Olutekunbi

Air Peace Ltd, a private Nigerian airline, has launched a case in Lagos Federal High Court against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC). The airline claims that the unions and their officials hampered company operations.

Air Peace is suing the defendants for $1 billion in general damages, 450 million in special damages, and $250 million in exemplary damages. According to Channels TV, the complaint was filed before the court based on pertinent sections of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, and the court’s inherent authority.

The complaint names as defendants the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and the TUC President, Festus Osifoh. The NLC Secretary-General, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, and the TUC General Secretary, Comrade Nuhu Toro.

Air Peace is asking the court to declare that the defendants’ deliberate actions to ground all of the plaintiff’s flights throughout Nigeria constitute sabotage of the national economy and security, given that Air Peace is responsible for most air-passenger and goods flights in the country.

Given the delicate nature of aviation and the present insecurity in long-distance travel inside Nigeria, the airline claims that such efforts have a substantial effect. Furthermore, the plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction to prevent the defendants from engaging in acts of intimidation and pressure against Air Peace.

According to court records, Air Peace claims that on May 3, 2023, its personnel was approached by a rowdy crowd of NLC and TUC members at the Murtala Mohammed Airport and Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 1 premise in Lagos. The mob interrupted the airline’s operations by causing property damage, hurting personnel, and participating in altercations with customers and employees.

The airline further alleges that the defendant’s conduct had a knock-on impact on its operations at other airports nationwide, resulting in the cancellation of planned flights at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja and Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri.

According to Air Peace, the defendants’ motivation for the disruption was to punish Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, which resulted in the entire closure of Imo State beginning on May 3, 2023, as indicated in the defendants’ joint communiqué dated May 1, 2023.

According to the airline, the disturbance caused bodily and psychological damage to its personnel, resulting in hospital visits and absence from work. Air Peace argues that, in addition to financial losses, its company image has been seriously harmed in the eyes of its customers, the general public, and investors.

On May 12, 2023, the airline’s attorneys reportedly issued letters to the defendants requesting reimbursement for the damage caused. Still, the defendants ignored the requests and threatened future disruption to Air Peace’s operations.

Air Peace contends that the defendant’s actions, which resulted in considerable losses, were malicious and deserved condemnation. As a result, the airline demands 1.7 billion in general, special, and exemplary damages.

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