Breach of contract: Bizman sues Arik Air, demands N100m compensation

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A businessman and Speech-communications specialist, Simon Imobo- Tswam, has sued Arik Air, one of the top players in the West African aviation industry, over breach of contract.

According to court documents, the suit, FH/ABJ/CS/345/2019, became inevitable after the airline refused to convey the businessman to Port Harcourt some time in 2018, and turned round to blame its failure on him.

The documents reveal that the businessman bought a Lagos-Return ticket online on 20th September, 2018, for N34,500. 00 only. The date for the trip was 22nd October, 2018, with the return date three days later.

But the court learnt that on 18th October, 2018, the businessman had the ticket opened since he could no longer travel due to other engagements.

And then on 29th October, 2018, the plaintiff went to the Defendants’ office at Trascorp, Abuja, and rerouted the trip to Port Harcourt (i.e. Abuja-Port Harcourt-Abuja). The date for this re-routed trip was 1st November and return was on 5th November, 2018.

The businessman was accordingly surcharged an additional N20, 216.00 only which he paid via Keystone Bank’s POS.

Trouble started for the Plaintiff when Arik Air told him on 1st November, 2018, that he would not be conveyed to Port Harcourt on the false claim that the Plaintiff’s name did not tally with the code on his ticket.

All the businessman’s explanations that the ticket was issued by Arik Air (with all the information on it: his name, code, date, destination etc), and that the Port Harcourt trip was very important to the passenger, fell on deaf ears. All pleadings by the businessman that he bought the ticket in his name; and that it is the same name he has given Arik staff in the over 20 times that he has flown on Arik Air, did not sway Arik staff.

The aggrieved passenger thereafter wrote to the airline through his lawyers, Chris Aashi, Esq., of Fairfield Chambers, on 26th November, 2018, and the Defendants replied on 3rd December, 2018.

In their response, Arik Air, now the Defendants, refused to take responsibility or make a refund – the arline rather claimed that the Plaintiff bought his ticket in another person’s name, and should blame himself for his mistakes.

It was following this that the Plaintiff sued the airline for “wronful and complete breach of contract; a refund of the N54, 716.00, being the total sum paid to the Defendants; and a claim of N100illion only for general damages.

The matter comes up on 2nd June, 2020, before Justice Evelyn Maha, for mention.

The airline has a flood of court cases arising from breach of contract, missing luggage or cancelled flights.

It would be recalled that only last week, an FCT High Court, presided over by Justice Danlamin Senchi, gave judgement against the airline, ordering it to pay an aggrieved passenger, Mr. Modibbo, N10million for “serious breach of contract.”

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