Alleged Racism: Court Strikes Out Suit Against Seplat CEO Brown, Others

The Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a suit filed by some aggrieved shareholders against Seplat Energy, its CEO Mr. Roger Brown, and the Chairman, Board of Directors, Mr. Basil Omiyi over alleged racism.

Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke struck out the suit after the stakeholders’ lawyer, Mr. Ayodele Arotiowa, informed the court of his client’s intention to withdraw the suit.

The aggrieved stakeholders who were petitioners in the suit include, Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye, and Robert Ibekwe, with Seplat Energy Plc, Mr. Brown, and Omiyi listed as first to third Defendants.

The petitioners were asking the court for an order of mandatory injunction restraining the second respondent (Brown) from parading himself as the CEO of Seplat.

They equally sought an order restraining Seplat and the company’s Board Chairman from retaining Brown as the CEO of Seplat or retaining his services for Seplat in any capacity.

But at the resumed hearing of the substantive suit today, counsel to the petitioners, Mr. Ayodele

Arotiowa informed the court that his clients have filed a “Notice of withdrawal” and were no longer willing to continue with the suit.

Addressing the court, Seplat’s counsel, Mr. Uzoma Azikiwe (SAN) told the court that his client has filed an appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit and urged the court to suspend all proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

For his part, counsel to Seplat’s CEO, Mr. Kayode Adesina, informed the court that the notice of withdrawal filed by the Petitioners was served on him in court after the appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the court had been entered at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division. He submitted that the petitioners filed their notice of discountenance on April 18, 2023, but decided to serve the Respondents in court.

While not opposing the Notice of Discontinuance, he asked the court to award the sum of N10 million as cost against the petitioners for the delay in serving notice of discontinuance, which counsel to the petitioners blamed on the court’s bailiff.

In his Ruling, Justice Aneke struck out the suit and ordered the Petitioners to pay N1 million as the cost to the second and third Respondents.