Ararume vs. NNPCL: CSOs Urge DSS To Release Security Report

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Following a judgment by the Federal High Court in Abuja, reinstating Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the non-executive chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited (NNPCL), a coalition of over 25 civil society groups has called on the Department of State Security (DSS) to release its security report on the Ararume while hinting of a major protest against the judgment in Abuja next week.

The coalition under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, (CCSGGG) in a statement in Abuja, said the security report by the secret police would give a clear indication of why Ararume was dropped from the board of the NNPCL. While faulting the judgment by Justice Ikwo Inyang, it described it as a usurpation of the powers of the president.

Convener of the coalition, Comrade Dominic Ogakwu, who signed the statement, said: “We are confident that the DSS report will show the character of Sen. Ararume as unfit for such an office, while we find it curious that the constitutional prerogative of the president to hire and fire, especially in a sensitive entity like the NNPC Limited can brazenly be usurped by the courts.”

According to him, “We have undertaken to express our dismay by protesting in Abuja next week as the judiciary cannot be seen to overreach itself, which unfortunately, has become the common denominator over the past few weeks.

“The political implication of what has happened in this matter is not lost on those of us that are watching events in the oil and gas sector keenly. After a hitch-free transition from the wholly owned government entity to a public liability company and focused administration since the unbundling, this judgment seeks to muddy the waters and allow elements with less than noble intentions to undermine the operations of NNPC Limited.

“We had imagined that the courts will take into account not just the national interest but the international dimension and not project Nigeria as an unstable oil and gas investment destination.”

Ogakwu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the indication that the federal government was appealing the judgment.

“It is gratifying that President Buhari has directed that the judgment be appealed and that the CAMA does not supersede the constitutional provisions of the president to hire and fire any appointee of government.

“We are also pleased to note a groundswell of opposition to the judgment and we hope that when the federal government appeals the controversial judgment, the appellate court will see a reason not to allow the miscarriage of just to stand,” the CCSGGG convener stated.