NNPC Fails To Stop Araraume’s N100bn Case Against Unlawful Removal As Board Chair
● Shock as two SANs withdraw from proceedings , storm out of court
● Judge fixes March 28 for judgment
The newly-incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, on Monday, failed to halt hearing in a N100 billion suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged unlawful removal of Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume as Board Chairman.
The failure by the NNPC Ltd, represented by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria- Professor Konyinsola Ajayi and Utigwe Uwa- saw both of them withdraw from the proceedings and storm out of court after Justice Inyang Ekwo stood his ground that he was going to rule on all processes and applications separately at the same sitting.
Professor Ajayi, the lead of the NNPC Ltd legal team, had, while identifying his processes for adoption,
drawn the court’s attention to a motion for stay of proceedings challenging the January 11 decision of the Court, which had declined to take the NNPCL’s motion of preliminary objection to the substantive suit.
Ajayi was of the opinion that the application for stay be taken and the court takes a decision one way or another before progressing with the case.
He had also wanted to put in, afresh, his team’s interrogatories for the plaintiff, which the judge refused to admit.
Ajayi had pleaded profusely with the judge and referred to the position of the Supreme Court that interrogatories are at the heart of fair hearing.
The judge did not budge, insisting that he would rule on each process and application separately on the same day and each ruling would determine the next step to take.
Apparently frustrated that his strategy to dilate the proceedings in favour of his client did not work, Ajayi told Justice Ekwo that he might need his permission to withdraw from the proceedings.
Justice Ekwo, in quick riposte, said he did not know how he got into the matter in the first instance and it was needless to seek his permission to withdraw and that the senior lawyer was at liberty to take whatever decision he deemed good.
It was at that point that Ajayi took a bow, picked his files and walked out, closely followed by Etigwe Uwa.
While the shocking drama by the learned silks was going on, Justice Ekwo had called on the counsel to first defendant (President Muhammadu Buhari), Mr A.H. Usman, to identify his processes and adopt them in accordance, which Usman did.
The counsel to the third defendant (Corprate Affairs Commisdson), A. U. Mustapha (SAN) also identified his processes and adopted the same.
Recall that hearing in the matter filed by Senator Araraume, at the Federal High Court, Abuja had been stalled on two previous occasions by the NNPC Ltd.
The plaintiff (Araraume) had instituted a N100 billion suit against President Buhari, over his alleged unlawful removal as non-Executive Chairman of the newly-incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
President Buhari, the NNPCL and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are first, second and third defendants respectively in the suit that was commenced by originating summons, which was amended at the instance of the court to accommodate the Corporate Affairs Commission as a co-respondent since the Commission might be affected by the proceedings and rulings of the court.
Specifically, Justice Ekwo had, on January 11, adjourned the matter to January 23, for definite hearing.
When the matter up, on Monday, the judge had directed parties to identify and adopt their processes as their briefs of argument in the matter.
He had also informed parties that the court would take all motions together, including the substantive suit.
After all parties had identified their processes and adopted them, Justice Ekwo said that the parties having been heard, the matter was adjourned to March 28, 2023 for ruling (on the applications) and judgment in the substantive suit.
PDP Crisis: Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Others Get Soft Landing
…..Party Rescinds Sanctions
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rescinded sanctions slammed on former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and ex-Senate President, Pius Anyim, over alleged anti-party activities.
Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina state and other party Chieftains also sanctioned got soft landings after a crucial meeting of the national working committee of the party yesterday in Abuja
Recall that the party top shots were suspended by the embattled Iyorchia Ayu leadership over alleged anti party activities
But in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday Thursday, March 30, the party announced that its National Working Committee,NWC, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains.
Ologunagba noted that the PDP NWC also reversed Governor Ortom’s referral to the party’s disciplinary committee.
He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today, Thursday, March 30, 2023, extensively discussed recent developments in the party.
“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.
“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.
“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following members of our great party: H.E Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State); Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State); Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).
“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our party at this critical time.
“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the PDP spokesperson stated.
DSS ING Alarm:Legal Means Can Be Deployed To Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration- HURIWA
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday said there was nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 because the February 25, 2023 election that produced him is still being actively challenged in court by leading candidates in the poll.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the so-called alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday that some politicians are plotting an interim government should not be used as an obstacle to stop the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s Victory
The DSS warning followed a petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo that the DSS should invite Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their rejection of Tinubu as the President-Elect.
Similarly, Atiku had earlier in March led a protest to the Abuja office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the result of the February 25 poll declared by the electoral umpire.
Both Atiku and Obi alleged electoral malpractices in the poll and are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as President-Elect by INEC.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Department of State Services should not rope in powerful opposition forces such as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar with a view to finding some frivolous charges to hang on their necks to frustrate their formidable petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.
“The DSS must work for all of Nigeria and not work as errand boys of Tinubu and his allies who only recently made claims that some persons want to stop his swearing in. By the way, there is nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop his inauguration because the election is being actively challenged. Nothing should be used as obstacles to obstruct Obi and Atiku’s petitions.
He advised that ,“The DSS should go after arm smugglers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists and leave politicking for politicians.”
Edo NUJ Felicitates Arase Over Appointment As Chairman PSC
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council has felicitated with Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector General of Police on his appointment as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
In a statement signed by the union Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, the union described the appointment as well deserved.
The union expressed optimism that Arase will bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment to his father land.
The union prayed God Almighty to grant him the knowledge and wisdom to reposition the Police Service Commission for better service delivery.
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