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Court returns Ararume as NNPCL board chair, gets N5 billion as compensation

An Abuja-based federal high court has nullified the sack of Ifeanyi Ararume as board chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

Ifeanyi-Ararume Credit: World Top News
Ifeanyi-Ararume Credit: World Top News

An Abuja-based federal high court has nullified the sack of Ifeanyi Ararume as board chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The development comes after 16 months after his sack from office by President Muhammadu Buhari.

TheCable reported that the presiding judge, Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling on the matter on Tuesday, also awarded N5 billion compensation in favour of the former Imo state senator.

The president had appointed Mr Araume as board chairman of NNPCL in September 2021, but he was sacked barely after four months in office and replaced by the wife of the former senate president Chuba Okadigbo, Margaret in January 2022.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1621/2022 and filed at the Abuja federal high court, the former senator argued that his sack was “wrongful,” and amounted to “disruption and interruption” of the term of his office.

He said it violated various provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters (CAMA), 2020, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021, and the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Mr Ararume asked the court to reinstate him as the board chairman and be paid N100 billion in damages.

Mr Buhari in a notice of preliminary objection said Araraume’s sack from the NNPCL board as chairman was done in his capacity as a public officer by virtue of Section 251 (1) of the 1999 constitution.

The president further argued that Mr Araraume’s suit was statute-barred, having been sacked on 17 January 2022, about seven months before the suit was instituted on September 12, 2022.

He contended that the case being an abuse of the court process, robs the court jurisdiction to hear and determine it.

However, in the judgment, the court ordered that Ararume be reinstated as non-executive chairman of the NNPCL, with all rights and privileges due to him.

The court also set aside all decisions made by the board after the removal of Ararume in January 2022 till date.

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