Stricken Med-View Airline (Kano) has hit out at First Bank of Nigeria Limited for allegedly seizing properties belonging to the airline to retrieve debts of NGN4 billion naira (USD9 million), according to local media reports.

On December 5, the bank reportedly attached two properties in Ikeja and Lekki owned by the airline in what the airline's lawyer labelled a violation of due legal process.

Advocate Lawal Pedro claimed the seizure contravened an ex-parte order by the Lagos High Court on November 22, 2022, insisting that the judge did not order the bank to take possession or seal the properties belonging to the airline. Instead, he claimed, the court had ordered the preservation of the airline's assets (staying a sale or other alienation) pending compliance with a pre-action protocol procedure by First Bank of Nigeria, which was yet to file an action in respect of the debt.

The advocate said a separate order by the High Court secured by the bank on November 22, 2022, only permitted the bank to seize the residence of Med-View Airline Managing Director Muneer Bankole, pending compliance with pre-action protocol procedures by the bank.

Lawal complained it was wrong for the bank to take over the properties at a time when the parties were working on an "amicable resolution" on how Med-View Airlines would repay the debt. "We have held meetings with the bank officials and exchanged correspondence on amicable resolution of any outstanding debt and for the parties to resume normal banking relationship."

"So, it came to us as a rude shock this morning (December 5) when policemen invaded our clients' properties in Ikeja and Lekki, chased everyone away, and sealed the properties as if the final judgment had been awarded in favour of the bank on the alleged debt.

"We believe this is an illegality and an institution like First Bank, with the full complement of the legal department and which we hold in high esteem, should not be involved in this type of action. We are taking appropriate steps to seek justice and remedy for our clients by due process of law," he said.

First Bank of Nigeria was not immediately available for comment.

As reported, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has confirmed that Med-View Airline's Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) has expired and that the company has stopped operating.

The airline has been grounded since 2019, but it claimed to be planning a comeback in a disclosure to the Nigerian Stock Exchange in September 2021.