Port Harcourt — American firm, BFIG Corporation, has written the President, Court of Appeals, Hon Zainab Bulkachuwa, faulting the inclusion of Justice S. J. Adah, in the panel that would tomorrow, 20th January 2020, hear the appeal by the Bureau of Public Enterprise on Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria ALSCON.
This is as Justice A. I Chikere of the Federal High Court Abuja, had on December 17th 2019, jailed the Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh, over his “refusal to obey Supreme Court order on ALSCON”, while BPE had filed a stay of execution, to enable it appeal the judgement.
BPE Head, Public Communications, Amina Othman, had said that a panel of the court of appeal, presided over by Justice S. J. Adah, Justice R. M. Abdulahi and Justice M. B. Idris, ordered the stay of execution while ruling on the appeal numbered CA/A/117/M/2019.
But BFIG Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Jemmie Williams, in the letter to Justice Bulkachuwa, argued that the inclusion of Justice Adah in any panel hearing the case, will not give the company a fair and impartial judgement.
Williams explained that Justice Adah, in 2005 had ruled that BFIG original claim for the purchase of ALSCON was invalid, and was subsequently dismissed by him, while the same claim was later found to be “meritorious in the extreme” by the Supreme Court on 6th July 2012 (in case no. SC12/2008).
He said Justice Adah granted Alex Oko’s request for a stay of execution of the ruling/committal order of Justice A. I. Chikere without having reviewed the actual order of the court, nor giving the respondent any opportunity to respond.
“On behalf of the board of directors of BFIGroup Corporation, a corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the State of California, in the United States of America, the preferred bidder for the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (“ALSCON”), and the respondent in the above referenced matter, we write to object to having this matter heard before the Honorable Justice S.J. Adah.
“Our objection is based on the fact that Justice Adah was the original jurist who ruled on 23 November 2005 (in case no._FHC/ABJ/CS/583/2004) that our original claim for the purchase of ALSCON was invalid, and was subsequently dismissed by him.
“This same claim was later found to be “meritorious in the extreme” by the Nigerian Supreme Court on 6th July 2012 (in case no. I SC12/2008).
“Further, on 30 September 2014, the respondent obtained a judgment to enforce and give meaning to the Supreme Court Judgment (case no.FHC/ABJ/CS/901/2013).
“The appeal of the enforcement judgment was initially scheduled to be heard by a panelled by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya.
“A panel who noted how one case participant made the calculated attempt to “waste the time of the Court [through an unprosecuted injunction] and to continue to frustrate a specific and clear Order of the Supreme Court to execute its judgment.”
“However, on the last day for the parties to adopt their briefs, Justice Adah appeared in the matter. Thereafter, on11 January 2019, while upholding the aforesaid Supreme Court judgment, Justice Adah removed all of the enforcement orders issued by the court.
“Finally, we note how Justice Adah granted the applicant’s request for a stay of execution of the ruling/committal order of Justice A. I. Chikere without having reviewed the actual Order of the court, nor giving the respondent any opportunity to respond there to.
“Accordingly, BFIGroup Corporation respectfully submits that we do not believe that Justice Adah can provide a fair and impartial ruling in this matter, and we would request his removal from any panel hearing this case,” the company said in the letter.