…as case shifts to Court of Appeal
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Wednesday, sacked the executive officers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society.
The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Charles Agbaza, nullified an election the Cooperative held in June 2020 on the premise that it was not conducted in accordance with constitution of the organization.
Justice Agbaza held that section 20 of the Bye-Law of the Cooperative society was circumvented when online voting system was adopted in place of balloting system stipulated by its law.
The court, therefore, nullified the election and ordered that an Electoral Committee must be constituted to conduct a fresh election for the Cooperative within 90 days.
The judgement followed a suit that was brought before the court by a group of retired NNPC Staff led by Agada Michael Agbo and Egahson Shehu Salifu.
The Plaintiffs had in the suit, challenged the legality of the election that produced new executive officers of the Cooperative.
They contended that section 20 of the Bye-Law of the Cooperative society was violated by adopting an online voting system as against the balloting or electronic voting stipulated by the law.
Plaintiffs further challenged the election on the ground that a Registrar who did not supervise the election performed the inauguration of the elected officials, contrary to the provisions of the law.
Though Justice Agbaza upheld the case of the Plaintiffs, he however declined to award them N100 million as compensatory damages.
Meanwhile, the sacked management of the NNPC Cooperative Society, on Wednesday, vowed to challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
Counsel to the leadership of the Society, Mr Ibrahim Idris insisted that the high court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to dabble into the internal affair of the Cooperative Society.
He argued that the issue of the election the Cooperative Society held to select its management officers was purely a domestic affair of the members of the society which the court lacked the jurisdiction to delve into.