Conference of Northern States Civil Society Network (CONCISON) has expressed deep concern over the recent court judgment that reinstated Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the Non-Executive Chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).
The court also set aside all decisions and resolutions of the board since 2022 till date.
In a communiqué jointly signed by Ibrahim Waiya and Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf, chairman and secretary respectively, as well as chairmen of all CSO networks in the 19 northern states, CONCISON queried the court’s ruling rescinding the decision of the President to hire and fire an appointee, adding that the ruling was an affront to the President’s constitutional powers.
“While we recognize the powers of the judiciary to adjudicate on matters bordering on the rule of law, we believe that this should be done with discretion and with a keen interest in defending the corporate persona and integrity of the country.
“While we find the court’s ruling rescinding the decision of the President to hire and fire an appointee an affront to the President’s constitutional powers, we leave that for legal luminaries to unravel, however, we find it very worrisome that the further provisions of the ruling that set aside and render null and void all decisions and resolutions of the board since 2022. This has far-reaching implications for the corporation and, more importantly, for the nation and the image of the country,” the statement said.
CONCISON noted that the implications of the ruling include rendering contracts and agreements reached since January 2022 with corporations and partners, both local and international, null and void.
The coalition of CSO said the development exposes the corporation to potential breach of contract litigations with severe implications for the company and the wider economy.
“As a national oil company, the NNPCL is a key player in the Nigerian economy, and any disruptions to its operations could significantly affect the country’s GDP and overall economic stability.
“Foreign investors may also lose confidence in the NNPCL and other Nigerian corporations if they perceive that contract breaches are not taken seriously and that there is a lack of legal protection for businesses. This could lead to a reduction in foreign investment, which could, in turn, harm the country’s balance of trade, economic growth, and result in a significant waste of time and resources, as well as an increased risk of national embarrassment for the country.
“Again, the nation should not forget in a hurry the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) saga, wherein the nation had to cough out billions of naira to settle breach of contract case filed against the nation.
“As members of the civil society, we condemn in totality the ruling voiding decisions of the NNPCL board since January 2022 and urge the government to carefully consider the impact of this decision on our economy and take the necessary steps to ensure that the integrity of the nation is not compromised. We believe that the decision of the court should not be interpreted to mean that a change in leadership in a government-owned corporation would always result in the nullification of all decisions taken by the board since the new appointment.”
CONCISON, while encouraging the federal government to proceed to appeal the ruling, said it will continue to monitor developments in the matter and engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the interests of the nation and its citizens are protected.
The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks (CONCISON) is a non-governmental, non-partisan, not-for-profit, non-ethnic and non-religious platform of civil society networks operating in the nineteen Northern states of Nigeria plus the FCT.
The platform was established in 2017 and inaugurated on 28th March 2021, the sole objective of the platform is to advocate for the best practices of democracy, accountable governance, and increased development of Northern Nigeria and beyond through policy influencing, cooperation, and teamwork.