Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume initiated a case against President Muhammad Buhari of his alleged illegal removal as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
The case, filed at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, is before Justice Inyang Ekwo who fixed December 15 for further hearing.
Ararume is demanding the sum of N100 billion in damages for his wrongful dismissal, interruption and interruption of his term of office as Non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC.
Ararume also asked the Court to, among other issues, determine if the President has the right to remove him without following the provisions of the law.
The Backstory: On September 19, 2021, Senator Ararume was nominated by President Buhari as the Chairman of the Board of NNPC Limited.
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However, the inauguration of the Board and management, which was initially scheduled for November 23, 2021, was later suspended by the President.
In support of the case, Ararume explained that on October 20, 2021, he was appointed as the Non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC. The appointment lasts for an initial period of five years.
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According to him because of his appointment, he attended the 23rd World Petroleum Congress in the United States of America just for the President to inaugurate the NNPC Board on January 7, 2022, with the name of another person listed in the position he appointed.
Subsequently, in a letter dated January 17, 2022, Ararume was informed that his name was dropped and replaced by Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo without any explanation to justify his removal.
Loss of credibility: Ararume stated that due to the actions of the President, he has lost credibility and goodwill, unfathomable emotional, mental and psychological trauma, and public humiliation, degradation and shame.
Ararume demanded: He asked the court to give him N100 billion compensation. He also wants to be reinstated, according to the letter and condition of his appointment.
A group of Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SANs) filed the case on Ararume’s behalf. SANs include Ahmed Raji, Chris Uche, Mahmud Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, KC Nwufor and Gordy Uche.
The senator put four issues before the court to be determined and he also asked for relief.
Aids are sought: he asked the court for an order setting aside his dismissal by Buhari through a letter dated January 17, 2022, with reference number SGF.3V111/86.
He also wants the court to cancel and set aside all decisions and resolutions made by the NNPC board in his absence so far.
He prayed for another order restraining the defendants from removing his name as Director of the Company.
He is demanding the sum of N100 billion as damages for the wrongful dismissal, interruption and disruption of his term of office as Non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC.
He also looks for the following:
- “A Court order reinstated him immediately and restored him to office with all the rights and privileges of the office of NNPC Non-Executive Chairman.
- “A declaration that his position as Non-Executive Chairman of NNPC is exclusively governed and regulated by CAMA 2020, PIA Act 2021 and Memorandum of Association of the Company.
- “A declaration that by the provisions of section 63 (3) of the PIA Act, CAMA Act, and Memorandum of Association of the NNPC, the President shall not by removing him from office as Non-Executive Chairman without following due process in law. .”
4 Issues to be decided by the court:
- “Even in view of the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the NNPC, Companies and Allied Matters Act 2010 and the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the office of the Non-Executive Chairman is not governed and regulated by the stated provisions of the law.
- “Decided whether, through the interpretation of section 63 (3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the President may legally remove him as the Non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC for any reason other than the provisions of the law.
- “Determine whether Buhari can impeach him without complying with the clearly stated provisions of the Articles of the Memorandum of Association of the Company, section 63 (3) of the PIA Act 2021 and section 288 of the CAMA Act 2020.
- “Desired if his said removal vide letter of January 17, 2022, without following the expressly stated provisions of the law is not wrong, illegal, null and void and has no legal consequences whatsoever.”
Editing by Emmanuel Abara Benson