A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has re-affirmed the order stopping the recruitment exercise by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pending final determination of fundamental rights suit instituted by a Human Interest Lawyer Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi.
Olajengbesi had commenced the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of all potential applicants to set aside the recruitment by the NNPC on the ground that it was discriminatory. He had written to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, on March 26, on the discriminatory age requirement on qualified Nigerians who would have applied for the jobs advertised by the corporation.
The matter came up for hearing on Nov. 22 since its transfer by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Honourable Justice Tsoho, to Justice Okon Abang. The Applicant prayed the Court to re-affirm the said order stopping the NNPC to further preserve the subject matter of the suit.
Afterward, the Respondent’s Counsel applied to the Honourable Court to move their motion to regularize their processes filed out of time. The Applicant Counsel drew the attention of the Court for purpose of records that the said motion seeks to regularize just the Respondents’ Counter-Affidavit and Preliminary Objection, as these prayers suggest that the Written Address in support of the Counter Affidavit filed by the Respondents is not before the Honourable Court as same is deemed abandoned.
The Honourable court further heard the substantive suit and adjourned the matter until Feb. 14, 2020 for Judgment as parties are ordered to maintain the status quo pending the final Judgment of the Court.
It would be recalled that NNPC had invited applications from candidates for a number of positions including trainees who must not be more than 28 years as of Dec. 31, 2018 and must had graduated from the University or Polytechnic not earlier than 2014.
The recruitment automatically disqualified Nigerians above the age of 28 from applying for the vacant positions and Olajengbesi faulted the age criterion noting that it violated section 3(e)(iv) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure), 2009 which protected the public interest of Nigerians.