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Ifeanyi Ararume sues Buhari for ‘wrongful removal’ as NNPC board chairman

Ifeanyi Araraume, Former Senator representing Imo North, has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over his alleged unlawful removal as non-Executive Chairman of the newly incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

Araraume in his lawsuit filed before a federal high court, Abuja, demanded N100bn as compensation over the alleged unlawful manner he was removed as the NNPC chief after using his name to incorporate the company.

Buhari had appointed him as board chairman of the corporation in September 2021 but he was replaced with Margaret Chuba Okadigbo in January, widow of the late Chuba Okadigbo, a former president of the senate.

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The former federal lawmaker asked the court to determine; “Whether by a proper construction and interpretation by this Honourable Court of the provisions of the memorandum and Articles of Association of the 2nd defendant, the Companies and Allied matters Act, 2020 and the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the office and position of the plaintiff as non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant are not exclusively governed and regulated by the Companies and Allied matters Act, 2020, the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 and the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the 2nd defendant.

“Whether by a proper construction and interpretation of the provisions of Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, the 1st defendant can lawfully remove the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant for any reason(s) outside the conditions specifically listed in the said Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

“Whether the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant for a fixed term of 5 (five) years with effect from the 21st Day of September 2021, can be lawfully removed from office by the 1st defendant at will and without compliance with the strict provisions of Articles 21.3, 21.4, and 24 of the memorandum and Articles of Association of the 2nd defendant, Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 and Section 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.

“Whether the purported removal of the plaintiff as a non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant vide the letter dated the 17th Day of January, 2022 without compliance with the strict provisions of Articles 21.3, 21.4 and 24 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the 2nd defendant, Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 and Section 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 is not wrongful, illegal, null and void and of no legal consequence whatsoever.”

The reliefs he’s seeking include; “A declaration of this Honourable Court that by the provisions of Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, the 1st defendant cannot lawfully remove the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant for any reason(s) whatsoever outside the conditions specifically listed in the said Section 63(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

“An order of this Honourable Court setting aside the removal of the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant vide the 1st defendant’s letter dated the 17th Day of January, 2022 with reference no: SGF.3/VIII/86.

“An order of this Honourable Court reinstating the plaintiff forthwith and restoring him to his office with all the appurtenant rights and privileges of his office as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant.

“The sum of N100,000,000,000 (One Hundred Billion Naira) being damages for the wrongful removal, disruption and interruption of the term of office of the plaintiff as the non-executive chairman of the 2nd defendant.”

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