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Ararume’s N100bn suit against Buhari over alleged unlawful removal as NNPC Chairman shifted to Jan 11

Hearing in the N100 billion suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari by Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume stalled at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday over improper service of court papers.

Though the suit was slated for hearing, it was shifted to another date following the discovery that the amended originating summons meant for the newly incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited was served on the Federal Ministry of Justice.

At Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to NNPCL, Oluseye Opasanya, informed the court that all his processes were filed based on the initial originating summons.

He told Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo that the initial originating summons ordered to be amended to accommodate the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, as a defendant in the suit was not served on him.

At this point, counsel to Ararume, Chief Chris Uche disagreed with the claims of the NNPCL lawyer adding that the amended originating summons had been served on all parties as required by law.

A search for proof of service in the case file by Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo, however, showed that the service of the originating summons was on the Federal Ministry of Justice and not on the NNPCL.

This prompted the NNPCL lawyer to volunteer to link up with the ministry to pick up the amended originating summons and re-file his processes to accommodate CAC as one of the defendants.

Justice Ekwo subsequently shifted the definite hearing in the suit till January 11, 2023, to enable parties to amend their processes to accommodate the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Justice Ekwo warned that all lawyers involved in the matter must file and exchange all their processes before the adjourned date, adding that any counsel who fails to adhere to the warning would be personally penalized by the court.

Ararume had last month sued President Buhari for N100 billion over his alleged unlawful removal as a non-executive chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited.

He is demanding the sum as damages caused him by the alleged unlawful manner he was removed as the NNPC chairman after using his name to incorporate the entity.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/691/2022 was instituted on his behalf by a group of Senior Advocates of Nigeria comprising Chief Chris Uche, Ahmed Raji, Mahmud Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, Kingsley Nwufor and Gordy Uche.

Ararume 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 from the court reinstating him forthwith and restoring him to office with all the rights and privileges of the office of the NNPC’s non-executive chairman.

He further demands the nullification and setting aside of all decisions and resolutions of the board of NNPC Limited 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.

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