Commercial LawBusiness

BEDC: Vigeo Power alerts Defense Chief over forceful use of soldiers

Vigeo Power Limited, the majority shareholder in Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), has alerted the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, to an alleged plot to trick soldiers into taking over the company’s management and affairs.

The firm made the allegation in an August 24, 2022 petition to the CDS through its counsel Mr. Kunle Adegoke, SAN.

In a petition titled “PLAN BY HENRY AJAGBAWA TO USE ARMY OFFICERS TO ILLEGALLY TAKE OVER BEDC ELECTRICITY PLC IN BENIN ELECTRICITY PLC”, Adegoke explained that the petition was in respect of “the wrongful and unlawful acts of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).”

He said Vigeo Power was aware of the alleged plan “of one Mr. Henry Ajagbawa to illegally procure the services of officers of your noble and illustrious organisation to take over the management and affairs of BEDC Electricity, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria notwithstanding the extant orders of the Federal High Court restraining against such.”

The petition alleged that Ajagbawa and some individuals were plotting to take over the management of and effect illegal change of directors on the board of BEDC. It added that having already “failed to continue enjoying such illegal protection from the Nigerian Police Force,” Ajagbawa and co had “resorted to deceiving officers of your distinguished office to engage in this criminal and illegal activity.”

The petition referenced its suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2022 at the Federal High Court, Abuja challenging the purported take-over of the board of BEDC.

It said the court had “granted an interim injunction which, inter alia, restrains Mr. Henry Ajagbawa, Fidelity Bank Plc, NERC, Corporate Affairs Commission” and persons purportedly appointed by BPE and Fidelity Bank Plc to the board of BEDC from working in concert with anybody to alter the board composition of BEDC.

According to the petition, the injunction also restrained the persons so appointed “from parading themselves as directors of BEDC or taking over the management and control of the affairs, assets and undertakings of the BEDC pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice dated 08.07.2022”.

Adegoke said Ajagbawa and the other defendants in the said suit had been served the “processes prosecuting them for contempt of court as they have failed, refused, and neglected to obey the orders of court in the same Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2022.

“It is thus surprising that despite the service of the Court order, the said Mr. Ajagbawa and his cohorts are procuring the services of your officers who are being deceived to intervene in a purely civil and contractual matter and who definitely are not aware of the pendency of the orders of court in the above-mentioned suit.

“The claim that the orders of the Federal High Court in the above-mentioned suit have expired is far from the correct position of the law.

“There is no pronouncement from the Federal High Court that the Orders of the Court have expired and neither do Mr. Ajagbawa and his cohorts have any court order pursuant to which they want to hijack a business not belonging to them.

The matter is pending and the matter is coming up on the 5th day of October, 2022 for hearing of pending Motion on Notice and other applications.

The fact that the matter is pending before the Federal High Court is enough to deter law-abiding citizens to await the outcome of the court case.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Ajagbawa and his cohorts have resorted to all manner of subterfuge having discovered that the police are not ready to support illegality anymore and have withdrawn their support. Mr. Ajagbawa and his co-travellers have approached all sorts of government bodies to hijack the management of BEDC.”

He prayed the CDS to intervene and ensure that “no officer of the illustrious Nigerian Army shall dabble into this matter in order to hijack the management and business of BEDC Electricity Plc for Mr. Ajagbawa and his cohorts or any other person whomsoever,
“There is respect for law and order and the sanctity of law court together with the orders of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2022 which orders are still extant and not yet set aside by any court in the land;
“The illegal acts of Mr. Ajagbawa and his cohorts be reversed in order to avoid deterioration in service delivery, which could also lead to civil unrest in Benin City and its environs.”

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