A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

BPE opposes motion to stop power station privatisation

Mr Benjamin Dikki, BPE DG

09 July 2014, Abuja – The Bureau for Public Enterprises and the  the National Council on Privatisation on Wednesday opposed an application before a Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an injunction to halt bidding exercise in respect of the privatisation of three National Integrated Power Plants power stations.

The BPE had commenced the bid process for Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain power stations on March 7, 2014.
The application for interlocutory injunction was filed by  the counsel for Ethiope Energy Limited, Dr. Alex Izinyon, who argued that his client had met the conditions for the first stage of the bidding process and hence it was wrongful to be excluded in the next round.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited equally opposed the application like the BPE and the NCP did at the Wednesday’s proceedings.
But the lawyer representing BPE and the NCP, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) argued that Ethiope Energy lacked any legal ‎right to institute such legal action.
“For any party to institute any legal action, the party suing must first establish his legal right to do so,” Osipitan said.
He added said that Ethiope did not meet the requirements for qualification, arguing that bidders must show that they had requisite experience and business and other requirements which he said the applicant did not have.
He also told the court that the plaintiff company ‎ did not place relevant materials before the court to enable the court exercise its discretion in its favour.
Counsel for Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Dr Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), in opposing the application for injunction, said such application could not be granted where damages would be an adequate compensation.
He ‎said  monetary compensation would suffice for the plaintiff’s loss if the court discovered the company had been wrongfully excluded from the bidding exercise.
In his reply on point of law, Izinyon asked court to discountenance the counter-affidavit filed by BPE and NCP on the ground that they were filed out of time.
Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati  adjourned the case till October 7 for ruling.
Not satisfied with its exclusion from the bidding exercise, Ethiope had approached the court for an order to stop the BPE from going ahead with the bid process.
In its statement of claim, Ethiope accused the Chairman of Due Diligence Committee, Mr. Atedo Peterside, of having an enormous influence on the BPE.
The company said Peterside had been having a running battle with its Chairman, Chief Johnson Arumemi,  and was hostile and bore animosity agaisnt him.
Other defendants in the suit are the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited and the Attorney-General of the Federation.


– The Punch

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