Port Harcourt — President Muhammadu Buhari has been charged to make known his position on the continuous legal battle for the sustainable operations of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON and the role being played by the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE.
This is as the Federal High Court in Abuja, again adjourned to November 13th, 2019, the case of contempt of court and committal to prison filed by BFIG Corporation against the Bureau of Public Enterprise, and its Director General, Mr Alex Okoh, over the latter’s refusal to obey court judgements.
Reacting to the development, the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, ICEN, charged the President to come out clean on the issues surrounding the privatisation of ALSCON and also alleged refusal of BPE to implement the judgment given by the Supreme Court since 2012.
South South Coordinator of ICEN, Friday Nathaniel Udoh, said it was sad that President Muhammadu Buhari could fold his hands to watch the underutilisation and cannibalization of ALSCON, a $3.2billion plant capable of lifting 61,200 Nigerians from poverty through direct and indirect jobs.
Udoh challenged the President to informed Nigerians that he is not a party to the actions of BPE, which according to him, was dragging the country’s judiciary into disrepute by disobeying the 2012 Supreme Court judgment on ALSCON.
He said the President must ensure that the Rule of Law is uphold at all times, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the Judiciary remains an important actor in democracy.
“Mr. President must make his position known to Nigerians and the world at large that he is not subtly supporting the irresponsibility, fraudulent role of BPE against the $3.2billion, Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria.
“A plant built with the commonwealth of Nigerians that is supposed to alleviate the suffering of average Nigerians, through over 61,200 direct and indirect employment in a country that has been rocked with high unemployment of over 46.4million (23.1%) of 200,963,599million population, and opening business opportunities.
“Dragging the country judiciary into disrepute arising from non implementation of the Supreme Court judgment of 2012, correspondently affirmed by the Appeal Court in January 2019, which the Appellate court adjudged among other issues to have been shrouded in fraud thereby revoking the ownership from Dayson Holding/UC Rusal.
“While still wondering why Mr. President continue keeping the estrange owners who Supreme Court stripped ownership seven years ago in the plant, to cannibalize machines and equipment and traded same as scrap for its sustenance.”
On the Contempt of court issue filed against Mr. Alex Okoh and BPE, ICEN said the Judiciary as an important actor in governance and final arbiters, owes Nigerians the duty to protect its common wealth from abuse.
He said upholding the sanctity of the Judiciary remains paramount for economic growth and, thus remains the hallmark of any vibrant democracy.
“I therefore call on the government to respect 14 (2) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution, ‘sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority; the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’
“Again, Section 16 (1), ‘The State shall, within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution (a) harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy; (b) control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.
“(c) without prejudice to its right to operate or participate in areas of the economy, other than the major sectors of the economy, manage and operate the major sectors of the economy.”