Politics

Agbakoba drags FG to court for excluding SouthEast in NNPC board appointments

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Dr. Olisa Agbakoba has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja to challenge the non inclusion of the South East Zone of Nigeria, in appointments to the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Dr. Olisa Agbakoba alleges that the appointment made by the Federal Government of Nigeria, contravenes the provisions of S.14 of the Constitution and also the Federal Character Commission, Act and the provisions of Sections 42 of the Constitution of Nigeria that prohibits discrimination of any of Nigeria’s ethnic groups such as, in this case, the South East.
He therefore requested the Court to declare the appointments of Board members, as unconstitutional, null and void.

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No date has been fixed to hear the suit.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malamud, the NNPC and the Federal Character Commission.

The federal government had recently appointed a board for the NNPC made up of the following:

(1) Dr. Tajuddeen Umar (North East)
(2) Dr. MaikantiBaru (North East)
(3) Mr. Abba Kyari (North East)
(4) Mr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse (North Central)
(5) Mallam Mohammed Lawal
(6) Mallam Yusuf Lawal
(7) Dr. Emmanuel IbeKachikwu (South-South)
(8) Dr. Thomas M.A John (South-South), and
(9) Dr. Pius O. Akinyelure (South-West)

In his written address to the court, Agbakoba contended that it “is a Public Interest Litigation and an Application to enforce the fundamental rights to freedom from discrimination of the Applicant and other Nigerians indigenous to the states in the South-East Geopolitical Zone, comprising of Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States guaranteed by Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 Constitution).

“The Application also requests the Honourable Court to restrain the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the 1st Respondent, from further violation of the principles of democracy, social justice and Federal Character prescribed by Section 14(1) and (13) of the 1999 Constitution, as well as the guiding principles and formulae for the distribution of posts, prescribed by Part 1, Sections 1 and 4 of Guiding principles and formulae for the distribution of all cadres of posts, the subsidiary legislation pursuant to Section 4(1)(a) of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act”.

He further lamented that “The reason for the action is that the Federal Government has always discriminated against Nigerians indigenous to the states in the South-East Zone in the appointments into the Board” of the NNPC.

While nothing that none of those appointed to fill the nine positions are from the states comprising the South-East Geopolitical Zone, he stated that more than one person were appointed from some of the Geo-Political Zones.

Agbakoba further pointed out, that “The Applicant’s complaint in the present action is that the board of the 2nd Respondent has nine (9) positions available, which can go round the six (6) Geo-Political Zones, yet nobody is appointed from the states comprising the South-East Zones, while more than one person were appointed from some other Geopolitical Zones”.

He prayed the court for a declaration, “that the distribution of appointment into the Board of the 2nd Respondent, by the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented in this Suit by the 1st Respondent, particularly the distribution/appointment made on 5 July 2016, is discriminatory against the Applicant and other Nigerians indigenous to the states in the South-East Geopolitical Zone, comprising of Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States therefore the distribution/appointment violates their fundamental right to freedom from discrimination, guaranteed by Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 Constitution);

“AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria from further violation of the Constitution and other laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act in appointment of members of the Board of the 2nd Respondent.

“AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION directing the Federal Government of Nigeria, whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies to henceforth apply the Constitutional principles of democracy, social justice and all laws relating to Federal Character, including the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act in appointing members of the Board of the 2nd Respondent”.

 

 

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