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Ifeanyi Ararume Sues Buhari For ‘Unlawful Removal’ As NNPC Chairman

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Former chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Ifeanyi Ararume, has slammed a N100 billion suit on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged unlawful removal of his name as a non-Executive Chairman of the newly Incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company.

 

He is demanding such claims from the Federal Government as damages that caused him in the alleged unlawful and unconstitutional ways and manners he was removed as the NNPC chief after using his name to incorporate the entity.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/691/2022 and obtained by journalists on Wednesday was instituted on his behalf by seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria comprising Chief Chris Uche, Ahmed Raji, Mahmud Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, K.C Nwufor and Gordy Uche.

 

Araraume, in the suit, formulated four issues for determination by the court among which was whether, 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.

He was also asking the court to determine whether, by the interpretation of section 63 (3) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the President can lawfully remove him as non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC for any reason outside the provisions of the law.

 

The Imo State-born politician also wants 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.

Also listed for determination was whether his purported removal letter of January 17, 2022, without compliance with expressly stated provisions of the law is not wrongful, illegal, null and void and of no legal consequence whatsoever.

Upon the determination of the issues in his favour, the plaintiff wants the court to make a declaration that his position as non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC is exclusively governed and regulated by CAMA 2020, PIA Act 2021 and Memorandum of Association of the Company.

 

He also asked the court for 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 cannot by removing him from office as non-Executive Chairman without following due process of the law.

Ararume, therefore, prayed for an order of the Court setting aside his removal by Buhari vide letter of January 17, 2022, with reference number SGF.3V111/86.

 

He also sought an order of the court reinstating him forthwith and restoring him to office with all the appurtenant rights and privileges of the office of the NNPC non-Executive Chairman.

 

The plaintiff further demands nullification and setting aside of all decisions and resolutions of the NNPC Board made in his absence from January 17, 2022, to date and another order restraining the defendants from removing his name as Director of the Company.

He requested for N100 billion as damages for the wrongful removal, disruption and interruption of his term of office as non-Executive Chairman of the NNPC.

 

In a 75-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, Ararume averred that upon the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the former Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC and its subsidiaries were unbundled to become Nigeria National Petroleum Company registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission with the number 1843987.

That on October 20, 2021, President Buhari approved his appointment as a non-Executive Chairman for a period of initial five years and subsequently, his name was registered in the Memorandum of Articles of the Company and the appointment was announced to the whole world.

 

Based on the appointment, Ararume averred claimed that he attended the 23rd World Petroleum Congress in the United States of America but surprisingly on January 7th, 2022, Buhari inaugurated the NNPC Board without recourse to him while another person was named in his place.

By a letter of January 17, 2022, he was informed of the withdrawal of his appointment but without any reason whatsoever to justify the purported removal.

 

Plaintiff asserted that he was not guilty of any pre-conditions for removal and was never declared bankrupt or adjudged medically unfit for the job.

 

Based on the unlawful act of the defendant, the plaintiff said that the action has fuelled public suspicion and rumours against his person.

Subsequently, Ararume asserted that he has suffered the loss of credibility and goodwill, untold emotional, mental and psychological trauma and public humiliation, degradation and embarrassment by his purported removal by President Buhari.

 

He, therefore, prayed the court to award him N100Billion naira compensation and to order his return to office in line with the letter and conditions of his appointment.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered that the Corporate Affairs Commission be joined as a party following no objection from Chief Chris Uche (SAN) who stood for Ararume and Alhasan. Shuaib who represented President Buhari.

 

Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed December 15 for further mention in the suit and ordered that the amended originating summons be served on parties before the adjourned date.

 

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AIB Signs MoU With Saudi Arabia On Training For Aircraft Engineers

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The federal government has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on training of aircraft accident investigators between the two countries.

 

The Accident Investigation Bureau of Nigeria, which has transmuted to National Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) signed for Nigeria, while the Accident Investigation Bureau of Saudi Arabia signed for the Arabian country in Abuja yesterday.

Speaking after signing the MoU, the commissioner of AIB-N, Akin Olateru said: “there is one aviation in the world and the rule of the game is cooperation. There is no one country that is an island. We need to work together as a team to enhance safety.

“We are both established. We both have equipment. We both have human capital but there are a lot of lessons we can learn from each other.”

 

Speaking on the details of the MoU, Olateru said, “Saudi Arabia will help us in the area of human capital development, we can engage ideas and its all about improving safety for the flying public.

 

We are going to have constant exchange of ideas.

There will be some form of training exchange programme.

This agreement would have signed before COVID but we are glad, it is signed now.”

 

Also speaking, the director-general, AIB Saudi Arabia, Abdulelah Felimban said: “We came to meet our counterpart in Nigeria, the Accident Investigation Bureau of Nigeria to open the channels of communication, of cooperation, of sharing experiences, learning from each other and benefiting from the capabilities that each of us have.

“We do investigations to ensure and promote sir safety.

 

Our business is to collect data, evidences, analyse them and put forward recommendations to make our skies safer.”

 

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Man Electrocuted While Stealing High-tension Wire In Abuja

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A middle-aged man, identified simply as Ezekiel, was electrocuted while trying to steal a high-tension wire in the Utako area of the Federal Capital Territory.

 

The incident occurred on Saturday night.

 

A commercial driver, who asked to be identified only as Hassan, told our correspondent on Sunday that Ezekiel sustained severe burns from the incident.

He said, “This early morning, a man known as Ezekiel, was electrocuted. He wanted to steal a wire from the high tension belonging to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company and in the process of doing that he was electrocuted.

“We heard the sound of an electrical spark in the night and also heard the scream of the man.

 

“If not for the fact that saw, plier, and torchlight scattered on the ground, I would have thought that he wanted to commit suicide. But with those tools, he went there for a mission. The man was lucky he did not die, but he sustained multiple burn injuries.”

 

The FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Josephine Adeh, confirmed the incident.

Adeh said, “Our men while on patrol came in contact with him; he had severe burns, and they rushed him to the Wuse General Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment. He will definitely be prosecuted but we will wait till he fully recovers. His tools are in our custody.”

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Aisha Buhari Withdraws Suit Against Detained Undergraduate

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Wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn the defamation of character suit she filed against a 500-Level student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Adamu, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

 

Adamu was arraigned on Tuesday before Justice Yusuf Halilu by the FCT Commissioner of Police following a complaint by Mrs Buhari over a tweet by the defendant on a one-count charge bordering on defamation of the character of the president’s wife.

 

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was subsequently remanded at the Suleja Correctional Centre in Niger State by the judge, pending hearing of his bail application.

 

The matter took a happy turn for Adamu on Friday at the hearing of his bail application when the prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, informed the court that the president’s wife had decided to withdraw the case against the defendant following the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians.

 

Based on the development, Ogbobe then applied for the withdrawal of the case, hinging the application on Section 108 (2) (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

 

Ruling on the prosecution’s application to withdraw the case against Adamu, Justice Halilu commended Mrs Buhari for her gesture.

 

The judge, however, admonished parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards.

 

He thereafter discharged the defendant.

 

Adamu’s travails began in June when he tweeted on his Twitter handle, @aminullahie Catalyst, in which he screenshot Mrs Buhari’s image and wrote in Hausa “su mama anchi kudi talakawa ankoshi”, meaning, “mama has eaten monies meant for the poor to satisfaction”.

 

Following the president’s wife’s complaint, the police traced Adamu to Dutse, Jigawa State, five months after his tweet and arrested him on the premises of the university, brought him to Abuja and allegedly drove him straight to the Presidential Villa, where he was allegedly beaten and tortured.

 

His arrest and alleged torture on the instructions of the president’s wife were greeted with outrage from Nigerians, prompting the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the umbrella body of Nigerian students, to first apologise to Mrs Buhari for Adamu’s indiscretion and pleaded for his release.

 

The body, however, later threatened a mass protest by students against Mrs Buhari pending when Adamu would be released.

 

The planned protest was scheduled to commence on Monday.

 

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