ABUJA, Nigeria (eNewsPR- July 7th , 2011) – On July 6th 2011, the Nigerian Federal High Court dismissed a motion for interlocutory injunction to prevent President Goodluck Jonathan from reappointing Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. The potential injunction was also set to prevent the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from screening and confirming Mrs. Alison-Madueke as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
This motion for injunction was founded on an originating summons filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on behalf of the plaintiffs Makelemi Erhuvwurotu and Afri Network For Environmental & Economic Justice Limited by their lawyer G.M Oguntade SAN seeking mainly a declaration that Mrs Alison-Madueke did not partake in the National Youth Service Corp and was therefore not qualified to be a Minister by virtue of the provisions of the National Youth Service Corp Act.
Upon a request by plaintiff’s counsel G.M Oguntade to withdraw the motion for injunction, Mr. Etigwe Uwa SAN counsel acting for the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke vociferously argued that having regard to the stage of the proceedings and particularly the fact that Mrs. Alison-Madueke had responded to the motion for injunction and filed copious papers indicating that the prayer for the injunction is unmeritorious, an application for withdrawal of the motion by the counsel to the plaintiffs was like escaping through the side door when the contest was about to begin. These submissions by Etigwe Uwa SAN were re-enforced Mr. D.D. Dodo SAN, counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation. The presiding Judge, Justice J.O. Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja therefore dismissed the motion for interlocutory injunction.
During the course of the proceedings, counsel for Mrs. Madueke, Mr. Etigwe Uwa SAN, complained to the court about publications of the court processes in the newspapers without any prior order of the court and also a publication wherein the plaintiffs made far reaching prejudicial comments about the swearing in of Mrs. Madueke in spite of the pendency of the suit. He argued that the publications amounted to a gross abuse of court process and explained that the plaintiffs deliberately tried to make out a spurious and self imposed case of urgency, having known of the matters about which they approached the court for over four years.
Mr. D. D. Dodo SAN also complained to the court about the conduct of the plaintiffs in making unjustified attacks on President of the Federal Republic of the Federation in the media. He explained that the plaintiffs were indolent in bringing the action only a day to the confirmation hearings at the Senate.
Mr Dodo SAN further explained that the President had no notice of the action as the court papers were served on the Attorney General of the Federation at the time when there was no seating Attorney General and when it was virtually impossible to bring the action to the notice of the President.
The court chastised Mr Oguntade SAN for the conduct of the plaintiffs in fighting the case on the pages of newspapers. He stated that if any party crossed the Rubicon and published any material that is contemptuous of the court, he will not hesitate to impose the full sanctions of the law on such party. Mr Oguntade SAN apologised to the court for the media campaign.
The matter has been adjourned to 27th of July 2011, for the court to hear arguments on the merit based on the originating summons.
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