LAWYER DRAGS PRESIDENT BUHARI, NNPC GMD TO FEDERAL HIGH COURT OVER APPOINTMENTS



More troubles for President Buhari and Kanti Baru of the NNPC as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja is set to hear a suit brought by an Anambra born Constitutional lawyer challenging the 55 appointments made by the Group Managing Director [GMD] of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC]. Named as defendants in the suit are GMD, NNPC, NNPC BOARD and President Buhari. Recall that on the 29th of August, President Muhammed Buhari approved of the appointment of 55 persons into the top echelon of the NNPC which s heavily lopsided in favour of the North and consequently sparked an uproar in the land.  land.In the Originating Summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/990/2017, the Plaintiff, Barrister Johnmary Chukwukasi Jideobi submitted three questions of law for the determination, to wit:

1.     Whether [in view of section 2 subsection (1) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended] read alongside Section 5(1) (a) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, either of the 1stDefendant or the 4th Defendant is entitled in law to unilaterally make or approve appointments into any position within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 2nd Defendant herein] or any other form of reorganization in the 2nd Defendant, without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 3rd Defendant herein] ?
2.     Whether the purported appointment made by the 1stDefendant [on the 29th day of August, 2017] into various positions within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations and the purported approval of same by the 4th Defendant, without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, [the 3rd Defendant herein] is not unlawful and therefore liable to be set aside?

3.     Whether in view of Section 13 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights [Ratification and Enforcement] Act Cap 10, Laws of the Federation (LFN), 1990, the Plaintiff herein is clothed with the requisite locus standi to prosecute this claim?

  Against the answers that may be preferred by the court to the above questions, the Plaintiff consequently claimed the following reliefs from the court:
1.     A SOLEMN DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT, that in view of section 2 subsection (1) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended, read alongside Section 5(1) (a) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, neither the 1stDefendant nor the 4th Defendant is entitled in law to unilaterally make appointments into any position within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, or approve any form of reorganization in the 2nd Defendant without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 2nd Defendant herein].
2.     A SOLEMN DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that is patently unconstitutional for the 4th Defendant to unilaterally approve of any appointments in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation or any other form of reorganization therein without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of Directors the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as envisaged by the law establishing the 2nd Defendant.

3.     A SOLEMN DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that it is unlawful and therefore invalid for the 1st Defendant to unilaterally make appointments into any position(s) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 2nd Defendant herein] without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as envisaged by the law establishing the 2nd Defendant.

4.     AN ORDER of this Honourable Court nullifying and setting aside the purported appointment unilaterally made by the 1st Defendant [on the 29th day of August, 2017 as shown by exhibit “NNPC1” into various positions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 2nd Defendant herein] without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of the 2nd Defendant.

5.     AN ORDER of this Honourable Court nullifying and setting aside the purported approval of the 4th Defendant for the appointments unilaterally made by the 1st Defendant into various positions within the 2nd Defendant [on the 29th day of August, 2017 as shown by exhibit “NNPC1”, without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of the 2nd Defendant, the said approval being unconstitutional.
6.     AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining both the 1st Defendant and 4th Defendant from further making any other appointment(s) by whatever name called into any position or office in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [the 2nd Defendant herein] or effecting any other form of reorganization of the 2nd Defendant or approving of same without the prior input, consideration and approval of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as required by the law setting up the 2nd Defendant?

In his affidavit, the Plaintiff averred, among other things, that:
1.      As a Legal Practitioner, I know as a fact that the refusal of state officials to follow due process in carrying out state functions [as assigned by law] promotes arbitrariness, lawlessness, impunity and precipitates anarchy in the system.
2.      I know as a fact that the future of every country’s democracy lies on the shoulders of lawyers who have the standing duty of defending the Rule of Law.
3.      I know as a fact that as a legal practitioner duly called to the Nigerian Bar, I shoulder the foremost duty of upholding the Rule of Law.
4.      I know as a fact that oil is the highest revenue-generating commodity and the highest foreign exchange-earner for the Federal Government of Nigeria. In addition, my home state [Anambra State of Nigeria] is an oil-producing state too. Whatever takes place within the 2nd Defendant is of grave concern to me economically and otherwise.
5.      As a citizen of Nigeria, I know that it is my undoubted right to actively participate in the governance of my country by actively holding the leaders of the country accountable for the endurance of democracy.
 I know as a fact that this Honourable Court is seised of the plenitude and latitude of powers to intervene, against the prevailing circumstances revealed by this case, to pronounce on the validity or otherwise of the conduct of the 1st Defendant in making appointments in a manner considered grossly inconsistent with the laws of the land guiding such delicate and weighty exercise. 




In his written address, the Plaintiff argued "Expectedly, the unlawful appointments purportedly made by the 1st Defendant herein have generated divergent and acrimonious reactions from the Nigerian Public whose interest the Corporation was established to protect in the first instance. The present suit by the Plaintiff aims at challenging the impugned conduct of the 1st Defendant with a view to ascertaining its propriety or otherwise against the backdrop of the extant laws of the land encircling the management of the affairs of the 2nd Defendant with a view to ending impunity and lifting the feet of lawless state officials off the pedal of arbitrariness and indiscretion."






The suit is yet to be assigned to a Judge.

LAWYER DRAGS PRESIDENT BUHARI, NNPC GMD TO FEDERAL HIGH COURT OVER APPOINTMENTS LAWYER DRAGS PRESIDENT BUHARI, NNPC GMD TO FEDERAL HIGH COURT OVER APPOINTMENTS Reviewed by David Brunt on Friday, October 20, 2017 Rating: 5

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