A Senior Advocate of Nigerian, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has sued the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly violating federal character and discriminating against the South-East geopolitical zone in its July 5, 2016 scandalous appointment into the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Mr. Agbakoba filed the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, saying the Federal Government appointed nine persons into the NNPC Board but none was from the South-East – an oil producing region.
He argued that it violated Section 4(1)(a) of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act.
In the suit, Agbakoba is asking the court to declare that the Federal Government violated the constitutional rights of the five south-eastern states to freedom from discrimination guaranteed by Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, who is from Anambra, is seeking a declaration of the court that “the appointment made on 5 July 2016, violates the principle of democracy, social justice and Federal Character prescribed by Section 14(1) and (13) of the 1999 Constitution.”
And also a perpetual injunction “restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria as represented by the 1st respondent from further violation of the Constitution and other laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act in the appointment of members of the Board of the 2nd respondent.”
Agbakoba wrote, “I want the honourable court to, in the interest of justice, enforce the fundamental right of freedom from discrimination of the entire Nigerians indigenous to the states in the South-East geopolitical Zone, comprising of Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia states, to afford every Nigerian equal opportunity, based on merit, in appointments to the board of the 2nd respondent.”
The respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation, NNPC and the Federal Character Commission.
The legal luminary further said that the failure to appoint someone from the South-East, Agbakoba argued, was a demonstration of the Federal Government’s bias against the five south-eastern states – Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia.
Those appointed, he noted, were Dr. Tajuddeen Umar from the North-East; Dr. Maikanti Baru (North-East), Mr. Abba Kyari (Nort- East), Mr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse (North Central), Mallam Mohammed Lawal, Mallam Yusuf Lawal, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu (South-South), Dr. Thomas M.A John (South-South) and Dr. Pius O. Akinyelure (South-West).