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Court restrains public presentation of Austin Avuru’s books

Author:
Bunmi Aduloju

A federal high court in Abuja has restrained the publication of books authored by Austin Avuru, co-founder of Seplat Energy.

The court order also constrained his publisher, Radi8 Limited, from releasing and public presentation of the books titled “My Entrepreneurship Journey”, “A Safe Part of Hands” and “Politics, Economics & the Nigerian Petroleum Industry”.

In December 2021, Avuru’s lawyer, Perchstone & Graeys law firm, claimed that the allegations levelled against him by Seplat Energy Plc are aimed at “damaging his hard-earned reputation”.

In December, the board of Seplat Energy approved Avuru’s termination, citing “breaches of the company’s corporate governance policies and his fiduciary duties”.

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S.B Belgore granted the order on Tuesday after the applicants approached the court over the contents of the books, which they find “offensive and inimical” to their interests as shareholders of Seplat Energy Plc.

The suit, marked FCT/HC/BW/CV/184/22, was brought by Nwabughogu Bright and Ezechuchukwu Augustine Nnaemeka as concerned proprietary interest holders in the company.

Belgore, ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by Nsikan Samuel Ekpeyong Esq, barred the defendants from presenting the books or any other books on August 4, 2022, or any other date in Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, or any other venue pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

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The court also granted an order of interim injunction “restraining the defendants, their privies, assigns, agents, and howsoever defined from interfering with the entirety of the res juris by distributing or causing the distribution of the book titled “My Entrepreneurship Journey” by Austin Avuru, founding CEO, Seplat Energy pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice is hereby granted”.

In addition, it enrolled an order granting departure from the “High Court of the FCT the (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2018 and directing that notwithstanding the provision of Order 43 Rule 3 (2) of the rule of the honourable court, the interim order in respect of the foregoing release shall continue to subsist pending the hearing of the motion on notice, which is now fixed for 30-8-2022 is hereby granted”.

It also directed “the Inspector General of Police either by himself or any officer under his control or command” to ensure strict compliance with the orders.

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