Lawyer begs court to stop national assets sale

A Lagos-based lawyer, Kabir Akingbolu, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to perpetually restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from executing his proposed plan to sell some national assets as a measure to tackle the economic doldrums in the country.

The lawyer said in his suit that Buhari planned to sell national assets such as the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Port Harcourt Refining Group Ltd, the Kaduna Refining Group Ltd, the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Ltd, the Africa Finance Corporation, the East West Rail Lines and the West African Gas Pipelines.

He, however, argued that the plan to sell the national assets was contravened the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercial) Act 1999, particularly Section 1 (1)(2)(3) of the Act.
Akingbolu said Buhari had by his plan to sell the national assets admitted his failure and lack of ideas to deliver the country from the present economic and political doldrums.

Describing the national assets as the golden eggs and national heritage of the country, which formed a formidable base for Nigeria’s economic and social security, Akingbolu urged the court to stop Buhari before he dissipated them.

Joined in the suit as the 2nd defendant is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The plaintiff claimed that if Buhari was allowed to sell the national assets, the nation would be plunged into deeper economic and political woes.

The lawyer said, “Over the years, successive governments have sold off some of the national heritage in the name of privatisation by alleging that same will bring more economic gain to the nation, however the reverse has been the case.

“Some of these public enterprises have brought billions of naira to the government in the past and all that is required now to make them as productive as ever is for the government to be serious and instill discipline in the management of the enterprises.

“The economic situation in the country is already dire and if the national assets are sold, it will affect everybody and the country will have nothing to fall back on in terms of investment security.”

He urged the court to declare the plan to sell the national assets as wrongful and illegal, being a violation of the provision of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercial) Act 1999.

He also prayed the court to issue a perpetual injunction to restrain Buhari and Malami either by themselves, privies, allies, agents or any person however described, from selling off any of the nation’s assets listed above.
The suit has not been fixed for hearing.



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