The BFI Group, a Nigerian-American consortium and the winner of the bid for Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), has lauded the reaffirmation of the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja by the Appeal Court on Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Alex Okoh.
Following the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 17, 2019, for the arrest and imprisonment of the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Dr. Alex Okoh, over the ALSCON, and the subsequent stay of execution order by the Court of Appeal on his request, the Federal Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the order of the High Court two years after.
A statement that was signed by the Media Adviser to the President of BFI Group in Texas, United States, Yemie Adeoye, said that the BFI Group has continuously and repeatedly shown its belief in the rule of law and the Nigerian judicial system by taking all its grievances before the court as stipulated by law.
The BFI stated that the alleged calculated attempt by the BPE necessitated its decision to approach the Federal High Court, even after securing a Supreme Court judgment over six years earlier, to explain why an agency of government could be so powerful to the extent of flagrantly disregarding the judgment of the Supreme Court.
According to him, “the High Court, after intensive hearings, ordered that Okoh be remanded in prison custody until his ‘flagrant and consistent disobedience of the Apex Court judgment’ is sufficiently explained, or at best obeyed.”
Okoh and the BPE had approached the Court of Appeal to stay the execution of the High Court’s judgment, hence, after two years of litigation, the Appeal Court has now found Okoh and the BPE deficient in their appeal, and in want of empirical evidence to prove their case, and thereby upheld and reaffirmed the judgment of Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court Abuja.
Speaking with journalists outside the court after the judgment, President of the BFI Group, Dr. Reuben Jaja, explained that “this statement means finality for us because the Appeal Court judgment basically validates all the issues in question.
“This means finality, it means ALSCON can move forward, and Nigeria can finally put this strategic asset into use; it means our industrialisation policy, particularly in the Niger-Delta region, will now commence.
“Like I said, this judgment of the Appeal Court indicates finality to the long legal tussle. It would basically ensure that both parties understand that there is a limitation to legal tussle, and let us focus on helping our country to move forward.
“This is our administration, and this government is serious with rehabilitating and refocusing the economy, and those of us who are in the private sector, and are positioned and willing to assist this government to move forward must be given a chance to support not just this government but the country in general.”