Court begins contempt proceedings against Wike, others
FCT Minister Nyesom Wike
Published By: Isa Isawade
A National Industrial Court in Abuja on Wednesday began contempt proceedings against FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, and others over the alleged disregard of a series of court orders.
The court affirmed Alhaji Faruk Abubakar as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Abuja Markets Management Limited (AMML).
The development was a sequel to the decision of the minister to include AMML’s MD in the list of heads of agencies dissolved on Sept. 27.
Wike had, on Sept. 27 in a statement, relieved the heads of 21 parastatals, agencies and government companies of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) of their appointments with immediate effect, including AMML.
The contempt charge, filed by Alhaji Abubakar also joined FCTA, AMML and Abuja Investments Company Limited (AICL) as 2nd to 4th defendants respectively, including the former acting MD of AMML, Engr. Yakubu Abbas.
In Form 48 marked: NICN/ABJ/62/2023 dated and filed on Nov. 3, the application was titled: “Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court.”
It was brought pursuant to Section 72 Sheriff and Civil Process Act, 2004; Order IX Rules 1-3 of the Judgment Enforcement Rules and Under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The application reads: “Take notice that unless you (the defendants) obey the orders and directions contained in the judgment of the court on July 20 and the order of this Honourable Court made on July 26, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
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Abubakar’s counsel, Faruk Khamagam, had, following the dissolution, written to Wike on Sept. 28, to inform him about the peculiar situations that surrounded the agency’s headship and the legal tussle that preceded his appointment as minister.
Khamagam, in the letter, told Wike a series of court judgments that affirmed Abubakar’s status as substantive MD of AMML.
The contempt proceeding was against the allegation that the minister and others were acting in disobedience to the orders of the industrial court made on July 20, restraining them from giving effect to the purported letter of termination of the employment of Abubakar as the AMML’s MD.
Justice R.B. Haastrup had restrained the defendants from giving effect to the termination of the employment of Abubakar Usman Faruk as the M.D. of AMML, which was contained in their letter dated July 17 until the hearing and determination of the counterpart motion on notice.
The judge also ordered the defendants not to, in any way, interfere in the management, business and corporate affairs of the AMML and that status quo ante be maintained until the counterpart motion on notice was heard and determined.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had, on July 10 in a judgment, restrained the FCT Minister, the FCTA and others in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/499/2023 from dissolving and reconstituting the Board of AMML by political fiat or press statement, without first following the procedure of CAMA, 2020.
The court declared that doing so is ultra vires the powers of the FCT Minister and the FCTA.