NNPCL heads to court to upturn ruling affirming Ararume as board chair

Abuja—The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has filed an appeal at the appellate court against the verdict of a lower court, voiding the removal of Ifeanyi Ararume as non-executive chair of the petroleum company, TheCable.

Former President Buhari had appointed Ararume as board chairman of the national oil firm in September 2021, but he was later sacked and replaced with Margaret Chuba Okadigbo in January 2022.

Ararume, a former senator representing Imo north, had sued the president, arguing that his sack was “wrongful” and amounted to “disruption and interruption” of the term of his office.

The federal high court in Abuja agreed with Ararume and voided his removal. He was also awarded N5 billion in damages.

The former president had said he would appeal the verdict.

In his response to NNPCL’s appeal dated July 31, Ararume said the firm’s move is “a waste of the precious time of the court”.

The former senator said the company’s appeal should be dismissed with a huge cost in his favour.

“We submit that this is not a case of misnomer, but consistent with the position and attitude of the appellant as if the 2nd respondent sued by the 1st respondent at the court below was still a parastatal of the government,” Chris Uche, counsel to Ararume, said.

The NNPCL is challenging Ararume’s victory on 18 grounds.

The firm, through Yusuf Ali, its counsel, said the lower court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit, having been statute barred.

NNPCL argued that the lower court erred by holding that the president could appoint a non-executive owing to the petroleum industry act of 2021.

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