Dr. Ambrose Orjiako

The Chairman of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Dr. Ambrose Orjiako, has urged the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division to void the bench warrant issued against him last week by the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Hadiza Shagari had last Monday ordered Orjiako’s arrest for his failure to appear before the court has ordered by the judge.

The judge had on November 15 directed that Orjiako should appear before her on December 4 in a contempt proceedings initiated against him by a firm, AOS Orwell Ltd.

Following Orjiako’s absence in court last Monday, December 4, Justice Shagari had, at the instance of AOS Orwell Ltd.’ lawyer, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), issued a bench warrant against the businessman.

The judge said Orjiako must be produced before her on December 11 (today).

But Orjiako, who was displeased with the bench warrant, has gone before the Court of Appeal, seeking to void the order for his arrest.

He also filed, through his lawyer, Prof. Kayinsola Ajayi (SAN), an application to stay the execution of the arrest warrant pending the decision of the appellate court.

The businessman is praying the court to restrain the Deputy Sheriff of the Federal High Court, the Inspector-General of Police and his officers from executing Justice Shagari’s order for his arrest pending the outcome of the appeal.

The businessman had filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the debt recovery suit filed against his company, Shebah Exploration & Production Limited.

He also filed an application challenging the competence of Forms 48 and 49 issued against him by AOS Orwell Ltd.

In the contempt proceedings, AOS Orwell Ltd. accused Orjiako of violating a November 8, 2016 order given by Justice Shagari, restraining him from tampering with the assets of his company, Shebah Exploration & Production Limited, pending the determination of a debt recovery suit filed against the company.

The firm, through its lawyer, Ogunba, had urged Justice Shagari to commit Orjiako “to prison and/or protective custody of any of the detaining security agencies or at any designated prison/reformatory centre in Nigeria’s territorial landscape until he purges himself of the contempt of the majesty of this honourable court.”

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