17 October 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Foremost lawyer and former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, has filed a claim at the Federal High Court, Abuja, against the Federal Government of Nigeria via the Attorney General of the Federation, to determine the constitutional qualification of the President of Nigeria to also hold executive office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed himself as substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources in September 2015, emulating his predecessor, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who had also occupied the position during his tenure as president.
Agbakoba, according to a statement released by his Chambers, argues that on the basis of section 138 of the Constitution disqualifying the President of Nigeria from taking any paid employment or holding executive office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, the President cannot hold office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
His other argument is that in any event, the President’s appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources was not confirmed by the Senate of the National Assembly, as stipulated by section 147(2)of the constitution.
The affidavit supporting Agbakoba’s claim states the determination of the questions in the claim are of vital national importance, in view of the governance chaos at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as revealed in a leaked petition by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu against the Corporation’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
Agbakoba has thus requested the court to return answers that the President is not validly qualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources and in any event the President is also disqualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources, not having been confirmed by Senate.
No date has been fixed for hearing.