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NNPC VS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  16th May, 2014

 The Clerk,
National Assembly,
Three Arms Zone,
Abuja.
Dear Sir,
 
NOTICE OF PENDING COURT ACTION IN SUIT NO:
 FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014 BETWEEN
1.     THE HON. MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES, AND

2.     THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM RESOURCES (NNPC)

VS.
1.     THE SENATE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, AND
2.     THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

 
INTRODUCTION
We are Counsel to the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), (the Applicants) in the above mentioned suit.

We were approached by the Applicants to institute the above mentioned suit on their behalf, which we have done and same is currently pending before the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting at Abuja. This letter is to notify your goodself and the distinguished Houses of the National Assembly, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of the pendency of the above suit, and to further implore you not to take any steps on the issues herein raised for determination, as that would amount to contempt of Court in this matter that is now subjudice.

 NATURE
The Applicants are seeking for the determination of certain questions that border on the determination of weighty Constitutional issues concerning the exercise of the power of oversight function by the Senate, House of Representatives and their various Commitees as provided for by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered.

The reliefs sought by the Applicants as contained on the face of the Originating Summons from the Federal High Court are both declaratory and injunctive. A copy of the said Court process is annexed to this letter as Annexure “A”

 BRIEF SUMMARY
The Applicants are worried by the continuous, persistent invitations sent to them by various Committees of both Houses of the National Assembly. The Applicants are disturbed by the sheer avalanche of these invitations, most, or almost all, of which have nothing to do with the way and manner in which both Houses of the National Assembly or their Committees, are to carry out their oversight functions.

Greatly troubled and disturbed by the incessant invitations to them, which have virtually crippled the Applicant's business and left them with little  or no time to carry out their Constitutional and statutory functions, the Applicants were compelled to approach the Federal High Court for interpretation of the Constitutional provisions for oversight functions and seek redress.

 THE LEGAL POSITION
It is a trite principle of law that once the pendency of a matter has been brought to the attention of a party, steps should not and ought not to be taken that will prejudice the outcome of the case or render nugatory whatever judgment the Court will arrive at.

In the case of Olusi v. Anor v. Obamobi & Ors (2014) LPELR – 22089 (CA), the Court of Appeal held, citing with approval the celebrated case of Gov. of Lagos State v. Ojukwu; thus:

“Let me first say that the pronouncement of the Courts in cases such as Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) is a recapitulation of the ramification of the concept of the Rule of Law and it is somewhat separate and distinguishable from the doctrine of Lis Pendens. The implication of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) and those line of cases is that it is an affront to the Rule of law to disobey or render nugatory an order of Court whether real or anticipatory. Furthermore the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) in particular equally teaches us that parties who have submitted themselves to the equitable jurisdiction of Courts must act within the dictates of equity. Thus, in that case, the Lagos State Government was held to be wrong to have ordered caterpillars into the land in dispute that is the property of Chief  Odumegwu Ojukwu at No. 29 Queens drive Ikoyi, Lagos while the parties were waiting for the outcome of an injunctive remedy on which they had invited the Court to adjudicate. In other  words, “He who comes to equity must do equity”. Per Owoade, JCA (PP 53-54, paras, E-C).

It was also held in the case of United Cement Company of Nigeria v. Dangote Industries Ltd & Anor (2006) LPELR – 7742 (CA), where His Lordship Rhodes – Vivor, JCA, (as he then was), stated, thus:

“Appropriate orders are made to prevent acts which will destroy the subject matter of the proceedings or foist upon the Court a situation of complete helplessness or render nugatory any Judgement or order. See: Kigo (Nig) Ltd. V. Holman Bros. (1980)  5 – 7 SC P. 60; Deduwa & Ors v. Okorodudu & Ors (1974) 6 SC p. 21. “per RHODES – VIVOUR, JCA (p. 23, paras E-F)

 DEMANDS
The Applicants' desire that we intimate the Houses about the pendency of this suit and to remind you that going the doctrine of “lis pendens”, and the above authorities, (both Houses are) legally obligated to stay further action on any, or all invitations that have been sent to the Applicants and desist from sending further invitations forthwith, until the final determination of this suit.

The above demands are apposite in a democratic society as ours that prides itself as adhering to the basic tenets of the Rule of law and obedience to Court Jurisdiction. This is to prevent foisting a situation

We have no doubt that the distinguished Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will see the wisdom in staying action in extending further invitations to the Applicants with respect to the subject matter that is presently before the Court.

Please, treat as urgent and important.
Accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
 
CHIEF MIKE A.A. OZEKHOME, SAN,
LL.d, D.Litt, DA, HonDL, Ph.D (HC), LL.M, LL.B (HONS),

BL, KSM, F.AES, FNIM, F.ICA., F.chMC, FNIER, LFIBA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               16th May, 2014

The President,
Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
National Assembly,
Three Arms Zone,
Abuja.
 
Dear Sir,
 
NOTICE OF PENDING COURT ACTION IN SUIT NO:
 FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014 BETWEEN
1.     THE HON. MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES, AND

2.     THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM RESOURCES (NNPC)

VS.
1.     THE SENATE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, AND
2.     THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

 
INTRODUCTION
We are Counsel to the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), (the Applicants) in the above mentioned suit.

We were approached by the Applicants to institute the above mentioned suit on their behalf, which we have done and same is currently pending before the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting at Abuja. This letter is to notify your goodself and the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of the pendency of the above suit, and to further implore you not to take any steps on the issues herein raised for determination, as that would amount to contempt of Court in this matter that is now subjudice.

 NATURE
The Applicants are seeking for the determination of certain questions that border on the determination of weighty Constitutional issues concerning the exercise of the power of oversight function by the Senate, House of Representatives and their various Commitees as provided for by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered.

The reliefs sought by the Applicants as contained on the face of the Originating Summons from the Federal High Court are both declaratory and injunctive. A copy of the said Court process is annexed to this letter as Annexure “A”

BRIEF SUMMARY
The Applicants are worried by the continuous, persistent invitations sent to them by various Committees of both Houses of the National Assembly. The Applicants are disturbed by the sheer avalanche of these invitations, most, or almost all, of which have nothing to do with the way and manner in which both Houses of the National Assembly or their Committees, are to carry out their oversight functions.

Greatly troubled and disturbed by the incessant invitations to them, which have virtually crippled the Applicants' business and left them with little  or no time to carry out their Constitutional and statutory functions, the Applicants were compelled to approach the Federal High Court for interpretation of the Constitutional provisions for oversight functions and seek redress.

THE LEGAL POSITION
It is a trite principle of law that once the pendency of a matter has been brought to the attention of a party, steps should not and ought not to be taken that will prejudice the outcome of the case or render nugatory whatever judgment the Court will arrive at.

In the case of Olusi v. Anor v. Obamobi & Ors (2014) LPELR – 22089 (CA), the Court of Appeal held, citing with approval the celebrated case of Gov. of Lagos State v. Ojukwu; thus:

“Let me first say that the pronouncement of the Courts in cases such as Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) is a recapitulation of the ramification of the concept of the Rule of Law and it is somewhat separate and distinguishable from the doctrine of Lis Pendens. The implication of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) and those line of cases is that it is an affront to the Rule of law to disobey or render nugatory an order of Court whether real or anticipatory. Furthermore the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) in particular equally teaches us that parties who have submitted themselves to the equitable jurisdiction of Courts must act within the dictates of equity. Thus, in that case, the Lagos State Government was held to be wrong to have ordered caterpillars into the land in dispute that is the property of Chief  Odumegwu Ojukwu at No. 29 Queens drive Ikoyi, Lagos while the parties were waiting for the outcome of an injunctive remedy on which they had invited the Court to adjudicate. In other  words, “He who comes to equity must do equity”. Per Owoade, JCA (PP 53-54, paras, E-C).

It was also held in the case of United Cement Company of Nigeria v. Dangote Industries Ltd & Anor (2006) LPELR – 7742 (CA), where His Lordship Rhodes – Vivor, JCA, (as he then was), stated, thus:

“Appropriate orders are made to prevent acts which will destroy the subject matter of the proceedings or foist upon the Court a situation of complete helplessness or render nugatory any Judgement or order. See: Kigo (Nig) Ltd. V. Holman Bros. (1980)  5 – 7 SC P. 60; Deduwa & Ors v. Okorodudu & Ors (1974) 6 SC p. 21. “per RHODES – VIVOUR, JCA (p. 23, paras E-F)

DEMANDS
The Applicants' desire that we intimate the Houses about the pendency of this suit and to remind you that going the doctrine of “lis pendens”, and the above authorities, (both Houses are) legally obligated to stay further action on any, or all invitations that have been sent to the Applicants and desist from sending further invitations forthwith, until the final determination of this suit.

The above demands are apposite in a democratic society as ours that prides itself as adhering to the basic tenets of the Rule of law and obedience to Court Jurisdiction. This is to prevent foisting a situation

We have no doubt that the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ably led by your good self will see the wisdom in staying action in extending further invitations to the Applicants with respect to the subject matter that is presently before the Court.

Please, treat as urgent and important.
Accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
CHIEF MIKE A.A. OZEKHOME, SAN,
LL.d, D.Litt, DA, HonDL, Ph.D (HC), LL.M, LL.B (HONS),

BL, KSM, F.AES, FNIM, F.ICA., F.chMC, FNIER, LFIBA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 16th May, 2014

 
The Speaker,
House of Representatives,
National Assembly,
Three Arms Zone,
Abuja.
 
Dear Sir,
 
NOTICE OF PENDING COURT ACTION IN SUIT NO:
 FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014 BETWEEN
1.     THE HON. MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES, AND

2.     THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM RESOURCES (NNPC)

VS.
1.     THE SENATE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, AND
2.     THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

 
INTRODUCTION
We are Counsel to the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), (the Applicants) in the above mentioned suit.

We were approached by the Applicants to institute the above mentioned suit on their behalf, which we have done and same is currently pending before the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting at Abuja. This letter is to notify your goodself and the distinguished House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of the pendency of the above suit, and to further implore you not to take any steps on the issues herein raised for determination, as that would amount to contempt of Court in this matter that is now subjudice.

 NATURE
The Applicants are seeking for the determination of certain questions that border on the determination of weighty Constitutional issues concerning the exercise of the power of oversight function by the Senate, House of Representatives and their various Commitees as provided for by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered.

The reliefs sought by the Applicants as contained on the face of the Originating Summons from the Federal High Court are both declaratory and injunctive. A copy of the said Court process is annexed to this letter as Annexure “A”

BRIEF SUMMARY
The Applicants are worried by the continuous, persistent invitations sent to them by various Committees of both Houses of the National Assembly. The Applicants are disturbed by the sheer avalanche of these invitations, most, or almost all, of which have nothing to do with the way and manner in which both Houses of the National Assembly or their Committees, are to carry out their oversight functions.

Greatly troubled and disturbed by the incessant invitations to them, which have virtually crippled the Applicant's business and left them with little  or no time to carry out their Constitutional and statutory functions, the Applicants were compelled to approach the Federal High Court for interpretation of the Constitutional provisions for oversight functions and seek redress.

THE LEGAL POSITION
It is a trite principle of law that once the pendency of a matter has been brought to the attention of a party, steps should not and ought not to be taken that will prejudice the outcome of the case or render nugatory whatever judgment the Court will arrive at.

In the case of Olusi v. Anor v. Obamobi & Ors (2014) LPELR – 22089 (CA), the Court of Appeal held, citing with approval the celebrated case of Gov. of Lagos State v. Ojukwu; thus:

“Let me first say that the pronouncement of the Courts in cases such as Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) is a recapitulation of the ramification of the concept of the Rule of Law and it is somewhat separate and distinguishable from the doctrine of Lis Pendens. The implication of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) and those line of cases is that it is an affront to the Rule of law to disobey or render nugatory an order of Court whether real or anticipatory. Furthermore the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu (Supra) in particular equally teaches us that parties who have submitted themselves to the equitable jurisdiction of Courts must act within the dictates of equity. Thus, in that case, the Lagos State Government was held to be wrong to have ordered caterpillars into the land in dispute that is the property of Chief  Odumegwu Ojukwu at No. 29 Queens drive Ikoyi, Lagos while the parties were waiting for the outcome of an injunctive remedy on which they had invited the Court to adjudicate. In other  words, “He who comes to equity must do equity”. Per Owoade, JCA (PP 53-54, paras, E-C).

It was also held in the case of United Cement Company of Nigeria v. Dangote Industries Ltd & Anor (2006) LPELR – 7742 (CA), where His Lordship Rhodes – Vivor, JCA, (as he then was), stated, thus:

“Appropriate orders are made to prevent acts which will destroy the subject matter of the proceedings or foist upon the Court a situation of complete helplessness or render nugatory any Judgement or order. See: Kigo (Nig) Ltd. V. Holman Bros. (1980)  5 – 7 SC P. 60; Deduwa & Ors v. Okorodudu & Ors (1974) 6 SC p. 21. “per RHODES – VIVOUR, JCA (p. 23, paras E-F)

DEMANDS
The Applicants' desire that we intimate the Houses about the pendency of this suit and to remind you that going the doctrine of “lis pendens”, and the above authorities, (both Houses are) legally obligated to stay further action on any, or all invitations that have been sent to the Applicants and desist from sending further invitations forthwith, until the final determination of this suit.

The above demands are apposite in a democratic society as ours that prides itself as adhering to the basic tenets of the Rule of law and obedience to Court Jurisdiction. This is to prevent foisting a situation

We have no doubt that the distinguished House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ably led by your good self will see the wisdom in staying action in extending further invitations to the Applicants with respect to the subject matter that is presently before the Court.

Please, treat as urgent and important.
Accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
CHIEF MIKE A.A. OZEKHOME, SAN,
LL.d, D.Litt, DA, HonDL, Ph.D (HC), LL.M, LL.B (HONS),

BL, KSM, F.AES, FNIM, F.ICA., F.chMC, FNIER, LFIBA