A Federal Court of Appeal, sitting in Lagos, has set March 30, 2023 as the date to rule on the application seeking to set aside the interim ex-parte order previously made by the court, stopping Mr Roger Brown, from parading himself as the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy Plc.
Seplat Energy has been in the news lately following the travails of Brown. On March 10, 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Federal High Court in Lagos restrained Brown from parading himself as the firm’s CEO, pending the determination of a suit filed against him and others by aggrieved stakeholders of the company.
The new date is an outcome of the court proceedings that held on March 23, 2023 at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in the suit filed by some individuals against the oil firm.
It stated that in various submissions by different parties to the case, arguments were made by legal representatives of petitioners/respondents, and those of respondent/applicant.
In the course of the last proceedings, the petitioners/respondents’ counsel, J. C. Njikonye, SAN, who led the team for the petitioners/respondents, had informed the court that there were two pending applications filed on behalf of the petitioners/respondents.
He stated that the first was an application for interlocutory injunction filed on March 8, 2023, while the second was an application for joinder filed on March 20, 2023 (“Joinder Application”).
He noted that the respondents/applicants had applications to set aside the interim orders of the court made on March 8, 2023. He, however, submitted that the Joinder Application should take precedence.
Responding on behalf of the first respondent/applicant, Mr Bode Olanipekun, SAN, submitted that interim orders were granted against persons that were not parties to the suit.
He also said the interim orders were challenged on the basis that they were granted against non-parties to the suit, among other grounds, and that those persons who were not parties to the suit at the time the interim orders were granted had come to ask the court to set aside the interim orders.
He stated that the interim orders should not have been sought and obtained against these persons, adding that the petitioners had now brought an application for joinder saying those persons were necessary parties.
He noted that despite being aware that those persons against whom the interim order were made in their absence were necessary parties, the petitioners did not make these persons respondents in the suit, obtained orders against them in their absence, knowing that they were necessary parties, and has now filed the Joinder Application after obtaining the interim orders.
Olanipekun submitted that the interim orders of the court had elapsed by the passage of time and if the counsel to the petitioners/respondents conceded that the interim orders that had expired and needed the formal orders of the court to be set aside, the coast would be clear for him to make any further application.
On behalf of the second respondent/applicant, Mr Matthew Burkaa, SAN, aligned himself with the submissions of Olanipekun, and submitted further that the Joinder Application, though dated March 17, 2023 and filed on March 20, 2023, was served on the second respondent/applicant on March 22, 2023.
He stated that for a party (the petitioners) that had represented to the court that there was an urgency and on this basis prayed for interim orders from the court affecting an entire company (Seplat) to have filed an application of this nature and served it only a day prior to the date the matter was scheduled for hearing, was a conduct that the court should take into consideration in setting aside the orders.