Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume has been reinstated as the non-Executive Chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) by a Federal High Court in Abuja, News About Nigeria reports.
Ararume had earlier filed a suit against his dismissal by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 17, 2023.
In a landmark judgment on Tuesday, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo declared the President’s action arbitrary, unlawful and illegal.
The judge also awarded a sum of N5bn against President Buhari and the NNPCL, to be paid to Ararume as damages for the wrongful termination of his appointment.
Justice Ekwo ordered that Ararume be immediately restored to his position as the non-Executive Chairman of the NNPCL, and also declared null and void all decisions made by the NNPCL’s Board of Directors in his absence.
The judge held that the President acted beyond his powers, illegally and in breach of the CAMA law under which NNPCL was incorporated, by removing Ararume after using his name to register the company.
This verdict has been hailed as a victory for Ararume, who had argued that his removal as NNPC Chief was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
It also sends a strong signal to public officeholders that they must act within the bounds of the law when making decisions.
The NNPC has been in the spotlight for a while now, with many calling for a restructuring of the company’s governance structure to improve transparency and accountability.
The court’s decision is expected to have significant implications for the management of the company, as Ararume’s reinstatement will likely lead to changes in the decision-making process.