Photo credit: Premium Times Nigeria

The planes, operated by Topbrass Aviation Services, is said to have been sent for maintenance to be moved to an undisclosed location from the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA).

The airplanes (registration numbers 5N-TBB and 5N-TBC) have been the focus of a legal tussle between the lessor, Seagold Investment Limited, and Topbrass Aviation Services, according to Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper.

The plane’s registration numbers have been wiped off, the newspaper adds.

The two disputing parties in 2011 signed a finance purchase agreement for the two 50-seater airplanes, for which Topbrass paid $12 million in a 30-month lease tenure, towards fully acquiring the jets. The deal is said to have been orchestrated by Chevron.

Topbrass Chief Executive Officer Capt. Roland Iyayi says his company has kept to the terms of agreement but the lessor later failed at execution.

Because of this and coupled with Chevron’s alleged desire to repossess the assets for transfer to Aero Contractors on a five-year lease, Topbrass parked both airplanes, declared a dispute with Chevron Nigeria, and approached the court for redress in 2015, the Guardian reports. Both parties reportedly pursued an out of court settlement in 2017 and renegotiated the terms of agreement.

However, effort by the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika to broker a truce collapsed, according to the Topbrass CEO.

“We were forced to return to court for an expansive order, which was given by the court, restraining all parties, including Topbrass, from tampering with the aircraft until the determination of the substantive matter,” Capt. Iyayi said.