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Court strikes out racism suit against Seplat CEO


Seplat CEO, Mr Roger Brown

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday struck out a suit seeking the removal of the Chief Executive Office of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Roger Brown, over allegations of racism, favouritism of expatriate workers, discrimination against Nigerians, and breach of good governance.

The suit was filed before Justice C.J. Aneke by five petitioners, namely Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye, and Robert Ibekwe.

Apart from Brown, also listed as respondents are Seplat Energy Plc and the Chairman of the firm’s Board of Directors,  Mr Basil Omiyi.

In the suit, the petitioners alleged that Seplat’s affair was being conducted in a manner  illegal, oppressive and unfairly prejudicial to the petitioners and other members of Seplat and in total disregard to the interest of the petitioners, other employees, and Seplat as a whole.

The petitioners alleged that Omiyi and the non-executive directors “failed in the discharge of their duties and are unfit to continue to function in the Board of Directors of the first respondent (Seplat).”

The petitioners had asked the court for an order of mandatory injunction restraining the second respondent (Brown) from parading himself as the CEO of Seplat or work for Seplat in any other capacity.

At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday,  Justice Aneke struck out the suit after the petitioners’ lawyer, Ayodele Arotiowa, informed the court of his client’s intention to withdraw the suit marked FHC/L/402/2023.

Arotiowa told the court that his clients were no longer interested in continuing with the suit.

But Seplat’s counsel, Uzoma Azikiwe (SAN), told the court that his client had filed an appeal, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit and urged the court to suspend all proceedings pending determination of the appeal.

Similarly, the counsel for Seplat’s CEO, Mr  Kayode Adesina, informed the court that the notice of withdrawal filed by the petitioners was served on him in court, adding that he was not opposed to it.

He, however, asked the court to award the sum of  N10m as cost against the petitioners.

In his ruling, Justice Aneke struck out the suit and  ordered the petitioners to pay N1m  to the second and third respondents.

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