President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the federal high court in Abuja to dismiss a suit filed by Ifeanyi Araraume, a former senator representing Imo north.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1621/2022, Araraume alleged that Buhari removed him wrongfully as board chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Buhari appointed him in September 2021 but he was replaced by Margaret Chuba Okadigbo in January 2022.
Margaret is the widow of the late Chuba Okadigbo, a former president of the senate.
In a preliminary objection filed by the president, he argued that he removed Araraume as a public officer in line with Section 251 of the constitution.
Buhari said the case is statute-barred because Araraume filed the case seven months after he was removed from office in January 2022.
“That this suit as presently constituted amounts to an abuse of court process which ultimately deprives the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the same,” the president said in his objection.
The objection came to light when the case was mentioned at the court on Thursday.
The NNPCL also told the court that it is yet to receive the amended originating summons which also has the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a defendant.
Inyang Ekwo, the judge handling the case, said all parties should cooperate with the court to determine the case on time.
“On the date fixed for next proceeding, housekeeping should have been concluded and I hereby enjoin all counsel to cooperate with the court for expeditious determination of this matter for hearing,” Ekwo said.
“Any party that defaults will be penalised by the court.”
The case was adjourned to January 11, 2023.
Araraume is asking the court for an order to reinstate him as the board chairman of the corporation and is also seeking N100 billion as damages for the alleged wrongful removal.