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NNPC fails to stop Araraume’s N100bn case against unlawful removal as Board Chair

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The newly-incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, on Monday, failed to stop hearing in a N100 billion suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged unlawful removal of Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume as Board Chairman.

The failure by the NNPC Ltd, represented by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria- Professor Konyinsola Ajayi and Utigwe Uwa- saw both of them withdraw from the proceedings and storm out of court after Justice Inyang Ekwo stood his ground that he was going to rule on all processes and applications separately at the same sitting.

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Professor Ajayi, the lead of the NNPC Ltd legal team, had, while identifying his processes for adoption,
drawn the court’s attention to a motion for stay of proceedings challenging the January 11 decision of the Court, which had declined to take the NNPCL’s motion of preliminary objection to the substantive suit.

Ajayi was of the opinion that the application for stay be taken and the court takes a decision one way or another before progressing with the case.

He had also wanted to put in, afresh, his team’s interrogatories for the plaintiff, which the judge refused to admit.

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Ajayi had pleaded profusely with the judge and referred to the position of the Supreme Court that interrogatories are at the heart of fair hearing.

The judge did not budge, insisting that he would rule on each process and application separately on the same day and each ruling would determine the next step to take.

Apparently frustrated that his strategy to dilate the proceedings in favour of his client did not work, Ajayi told Justice Ekwo that he might need his permission to withdraw from the proceedings.

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Justice Ekwo, in quick riposte, said he did not know how he got into the matter in the first instance and it was needless to seek his permission to withdraw and that the senior lawyer was at liberty to take whatever decision he deemed good.

It was at that point that Ajayi took a bow, picked his files and walked out, closely followed by Etigwe Uwa.

While the shocking drama by the learned silks was going on, Justice Ekwo had called on the counsel to first defendant (President Muhammadu Buhari), Mr A.H. Usman, to identify his processes and adopt them in accordance, which Usman did.

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The counsel to the third defendant (Corprate Affairs Commisdson), A. U. Mustapha (SAN) also identified his processes and adopted the same.

Recall that hearing in the matter filed by Senator Araraume, at the Federal High Court, Abuja had been stalled on two previous occasions by the NNPC Ltd.

The plaintiff (Araraume) had instituted a N100 billion suit against President Buhari, over his alleged unlawful removal as non-Executive Chairman of the newly-incorporated Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

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President Buhari, the NNPCL and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are first, second and third defendants respectively in the suit that was commenced by originating summons, which was amended at the instance of the court to accommodate the Corporate Affairs Commission as a co-respondent since the Commission might be affected by the proceedings and rulings of the court.

Specifically, Justice Ekwo had, on January 11, adjourned the matter to January 23, for definite hearing.

When the matter up, on Monday, the judge had directed parties to identify and adopt their processes as their briefs of argument in the matter.

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He had also informed parties that the court would take all motions together, including the substantive suit.

After all parties had identified their processes and adopted them, Justice Ekwo said that the parties having been heard, the matter was adjourned to March 28, 2023 for ruling (on the applications) and judgment in the substantive suit.

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JUST IN: IMF ask CBN to extend Feb 10 deadline for old naira notes

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By Francesca Iwambe

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the February 10 deadline for the use of old naira notes if the difficulties in getting new notes persist.

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According to the IMF, the call become necessary as the development had led to the disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new noted in the bank.

The call was contained in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday.

“In light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline,” the statement reads.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court suspends February 10 deadline for naira swap

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By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has restrained the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Government from ending the legal tender statuses of old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes on February 10, 2023.

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The apex court made the order following the suit filed by three State governments challenging the Naira swap policy.

Recall that governments of Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi States had approached the Supreme Court seeking an order to stop the policy.

Naijablitznews.com will bring you more details shortly

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CBN captures more Communities as currency swap is continuous in Taraba

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Emmanuel Awari-Jalingo

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday extend her currency swap exercise to more Communities of Yorro, Ardo-Kola and Ibi local government areas of Taraba state.

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The Director Financial System Strategy, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ibrahim Hassan who disclosed this to our correspondent in Jalingo said, the development was in continuation of the CBN initiative targeted at ensuring that all rural dwellers in Taraba have their old naira notes swapped to new ones or deposited in banks before the extended CBN deadline for currency swap.

Hassan noted that the currency Swap Initiative was to help save communities who do not have access to bank, swap their old naira notes to the new notes.

“Just as we have been doing to ensure that people in the rural Communities of Taraba who do not have access to Bank have their old naira notes swap to new ones. CBN delegation have been drafted to more Communities of Yorro, Ardo-Kola and Ibi local to ensure success of the initiative.

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“CBN delegation for Yorro is led by Mr Jackson Imandi, the Deputy Director, the one Ardo-Kola is led by Mr. Kazeem Olatinmu while the one in Ibi local government is been led by the CBN Head of Banking Services in Taraba State, Hayatu Yahaya Shehu to ensure the villagers gain advantage of the Ten days extension for the currency swap” Hassan explained.

When contacted, the chief of Mumuye in Yorro local government, Ado Adamu Manang, that of Ibi, Abubakar Salihu Danbaw and some beneficiary of the exercise in Ardo-Kola local government, Mohammed Musa, Hafsatu Babangida and Isa Mahmud, commended the central Bank of Nigeria for the exercise as it was the best for villagers and promised to help create massive awareness for people to swap their old naira notes to the new ones.

According to them, businesses were already collapsing as people were no longer accepting the old naira notes even before the extended window.

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