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NNPC’s failure to file counter affidavit stalls Araraume’s N100bn suit against Buhari

NNPC’s failure to file counter affidavit stalls Araraume’s N100bn suit against Buhari
January 11
16:15 2023

A suit challenging the sack of Ifeanyi Araraume as the board chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has stalled at a federal high court in Abuja, over the failure of the company to file its counter affidavit.

Araraume, a former senator representing Imo north, had sued President Muhammadu Buhari for removing him as board chairman of NNPC in January 2022.

Buhari 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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Buhari has since filed a preliminary objection, asking the court to dismiss the suit.

Ruling on the case on Wednesday, Inyang Ekwo, a judge, said he would not hear the preliminary objection alone until the counter affidavit to the substantive suit has been filed by the NNPC.

“Let me give the NNPC legal team the opportunity to file a counter affidavit to enable me to look at the matter holistically,” the judge ruled.

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“When I see the calibre of counsel in a matter like this my belief is that there will be an exposition of jurisprudence to develop the law.”

Therefore, the case was adjourned till January 23.

Meanwhile, some of the reliefs sought by the former senator in his suit are:

“A declaration of this honourable court that by the provisions of section 63 (3) of the petroleum industry act, 2021, the 1st defendant cannot lawfully remove the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant for any reason(s) whatsoever outside the conditions specifically listed in the said section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021,” the document reads.

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“An order of this honourable court setting aside the removal of the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant vide the 1st defendant’s letter dated the 17th day of January, 2022 with reference no: SGF.3/VIII/86.

“An order of this honourable court reinstating the plaintiff forthwith and restoring him to his office with all the appurtenant rights and privileges of his office as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant.”

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