24th May 2024
Araraume, NNPCL Take Legal Battle To Court Of Appeal

Senator Ifeanyi Ararume has described as an abuse of the court process, the appeal by Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, seeking to upturn the judgment of a Federal High Court which ordered his reinstatement as the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of the newly NNPCL.

In a brief of argument by his team of lawyers led by Chris Uche, SAN, Ararume argued that the appeal by NNPCL was not only incompetent and lacking in merit but a waste of the previous time of the court which must be dismissed with huge cost..

Justice Inyang Ekwo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had in a judgment on April 18, ordered the immediate reinstatement of Ararume as NNPC’s Chairman.

The lower court in its judgment held that his removal after his appointment by former President Muhammadu Buhari was illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and subsequently nullified the president’s action.

Besides, the court also ordered the defendants which included Buhari, NNPC Ltd, and the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to pay Ararume the sum of N5 billion damages he suffered following his unlawful removal as NNPC Board Chairman.

In addition, the court declared as nullity all decisions and actions taken so far by the board in the absence of Ararume.

But NNPCL had approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja, challenging the decisions of Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court delivered on April 18, 2023.

The NNPCL in its appellant’s brief of argument, presented 18 grounds upon which it was challenging the entire decision of the trial court.

Specifically, the appellant through its lead counsel, Mr. Yusuf Ali, SAN, urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment in favour of Ararume because the trial court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit; the suit was statute barred; the trial court misled and misapplied the relevant statutory provisions which led it to the wrong decisions; Ararume failed to adduce convincing, believable, cogent and compelling evidence in support of his suit; and that the trial court ought not to have entertained the suit on originating summons.

Responding, Ararume faulted the appeal for being incompetent because the said brief of argument was filed by a non-party in the suit.

According to Ararume, there was no proper appellant before the Court of Appeal because NNPCL that he sued is different from the NNPC that filed the brief of argument and as such lacked the locus standi and the legal personality of any brief of argument in this appeal or to prosecute same.

“We submit that this is not a case of a misnomer, but consistent with the position and attitude of the “Appellant” as if the 2nd respondent defendant sued by the 1st respondent at the court below was still a parastatal of government.”

Meanwhile, Ararume has urged the court to dismiss the appeal with substantial cost for being a gross abuse of the court process.

– Vanguard

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