Uche Usim, Abuja
Respite came the way of the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh, as the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, ordered an immediate stay of execution on the Ruling/Committal Order of Justice AI Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja, who hitherto ruled that Okoh be remanded in prison for a minimum of 30 days for contempt of court.
Giving the order on Monday, in Appeal number CA/A/117/M/2019, the Appeal Court, presided over by Hon Justice SJ Adah, Justice RM Abdulahi and Justice MB Idris as members of the Panel, directed all the parties to maintain status quo ante pending the hearing and determination of the motion fixed for January 20, 2020.
The restraining order reads in part:
”An order restraining the respondent, the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Abuja, their servants, agents, law enforcement agents and persons acting for or on behalf of the Respondent from enforcing, attempting to enforce arrest or imprisoning the 2nd Respondent/Applicant pursuant to the ruling/committal order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Coram Chikere J. dated 17th December, 2019 in the suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/583/2004 BFI Group Corporation v Bureau of Public Enterprises, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the Appellants/ Applicants.”
A committal proceeding was instituted against BPE and Mr Alex A Okoh, DG, BPE following an allegation that the BPE failed to fully execute the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Court of Appeal in the matter of BFIG v. BPE.
But the spokesperson of the BPE, Amina Tukur Othman, in a statement said the Bureau had at all times complied with all judgments in respect of ALSCON.
“However, BFIG has consistently failed to meet its financial commitments as directed by the courts to pay the bid price of USD$410 million as submitted by BFIG in 2004,” she added.