he Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari has taken due notice of judgment by the Federal High Court, Abuja, restoring Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as the non-executive Chairman of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
According to a statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, on Wednesday in Abuja, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation /Minister for Justice is yet to receive a formal copy of the ruling,
He, however, maintained that the President had affirmed that due judicial process would be followed, and ”NNPCL has already taken steps to go on appeal
”The Administration respects the Rule of Law, and nothing will be done outside it to resolve the matter.”
Adesina quoted the president as calling for calm from all sides involved.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Intang Ekwo had on Tuesday declared the sack of Ararume by the Federal Government as Non-Executive Chairman of the NNPCL as illegal and unlawful.
Delivering judgment in the matter, Ekwo, said that his removal was unconstitutional and as such the court restored him as the Non- Executive Chairman of the company with full benefits.
The judge also awarded N5 billion against the federal government and NNPCL in favour of Ararume as damages for what he suffered on account of the wrongful sack and disruption of his appointment.
Ekwo ordered that Ararume be immediately restored to office as non Executive Chairman of the NNPCL.
Ararume had dragged the federal government before the court, praying it to declare his removal as NNPCL chief illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and a breach of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) law under which NNPCL was incorporated.
Specifically, Ararume asked the court to issue an order returning him to office, Ararume also demanded N100 billion in damages. Issues he raised for determination included whether, in view of provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the NNPCL, CAMA, 2010 and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021, the office of non-executive chairman was not governed and regulated by stated provisions of the law.
The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/691/2022, was instituted on his behalf by a group of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), comprising Chief Chris Uche, Ahmed Raji, Mahmud Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, K.C Nwufor and Gordy Uche.
Among others, the plaintiff wanted the court to determine whether by interpretation of Section 63 (3) of the PIA, the President could lawfully remove him as non-executive chairman of the NNPCL for any reason outside the provisions of the law.
Besides, Ararume prayed the court to determine whether Buhari can sack him without compliance with expressly stated provisions of the Articles of Memorandum of Association of the Company, Section 63 (3) of the PIA Act, 2021 and Section 288 of the CAMA Act, 2020 (NAN)