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NNPC fails to stall Araraume’s suit challenging his removal as board chair

NNPC fails to stall Araraume’s suit challenging his removal as board chair
January 23
20:48 2023

The Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has failed to stall a suit filed by Ifeanyi Araraume, a former senator representing Imo north, challenging his removal as board chair of the oil firm.

Araraume had sued President Muhammadu Buhari for removing him “unlawfully” as board chairman of NNPC in January 2022.

Buhari had appointed Margaret Chuba Okadigbo, widow of Chuba Okadigbo, a former senate president, to replace him.

In the suit, the former Imo senator is seeking N100bn in damages.

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On the last adjourned date, Inyang Ekwo, the judge, did not go on with proceedings because the oil company failed to file its counter affidavit.

Ekwo had held that he would consider all applications and the substantive suit together. One of the applications is a preliminary objection filed by Buhari asking the court to dismiss the suit.

At a federal high court in Abuja on Monday, Konyinsola Ajayi, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and counsel to the corporation, while adopting his processes, informed Ekwo of an application seeking to stay proceedings in the suit.

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Ajayi also informed the judge of “interrogatories” he was willing to file but the court rejected it.

Interrogatories are questions formulated by a litigant to their opponents to further clarify matters that will be raised in the substantive suit.

Without success, the NNPC lawyer filed for an application to withdraw from the case, and Ekwo told him to do what was best for him.

Subsequently, Ajayi took his leave from the court room with Utigwe Uwa, another lawyer with whom he had appeared for the NNPC.

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The case was adjourned till March 28 for ruling on the applications and hearing of the substantive suit.

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