ByÂ Â Dennis Agbo
ABAKALIKIâ€”The Nigeria Cement Company Plc (Nigercem), Nkalagu, Ebonyi State, has dragged the Ebonyi State Government before a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, challenging the governmentâ€™s revocation of its Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O), lease of Nigercem and the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the operations of of the company from 2002 to date.
Joined as defendants in the suit are members of the Commission headed by Justice Adrian Orah (rtd).
Nigercem is presently owned by the Eastern Bulkcem Nigeria Limited, EBNL, the core investor that bought both assets and liabilities of the factoryÂ in 2002. Eastern Bulkcem Limited, makers of Eagle Cement, Port Harcourt is believed to be behind the suit.
Nigercem is seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Ebonyi State Government or its agents, privies, assigns, servants or howsoever, from taking over the premises and/or interfering with the operations of the plaintiff/applicants (Nigercem) on all the land and property described as Nigercem land in the notice of revocation dated October 6, 2009.
The plaintiff also want the court to restrain the Chairman of the Panel and other members,Â by themselves or their agents, servants, privies or howsoever from conducting any inquiry into the operations of the plaintiff or taking any steps which may have the result of interfering with the business of the plaintiff, pending the determination of the suit.
When the matter came up weekend before the trail judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, the counsel to all the defendants, Dr. Jacob Ibik, SAN, argued that the Commission of Inquiry had concluded sitting before it was served with the court processes, noting, however, that he had already filed an objection, challenging the suit
Applicant’s counsel,Â argued that theÂ preliminary objection and counter affidavits were served on them less than an hour before the court sitting.