AEDC takeover: Parties disagree over appointment of mediator

Parties in the controversial takeover of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) on Thursday disagreed over appointment of a mediator in the bid to settle out of court.

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Adeyinka Aderemi, made this known while praying Justice Inyang Ekwo for another adjournment to allow the parties explore the reconciliation move.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Ekwo had, on Feb. 16, adjourned the matter to allow parties settle the case out of court.

The judge then fixed April 25 for report of the settlement but on the adjourned date, the matter did not hold.

NAN reports that CEC Africa Investments Limited and KANN Utility Company Limited had sued the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as 1st and 2nd defendants over the Federal Government’s directive for the company’s takeover.

Also joined in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1557/2021, dated and filed on Dec. 8, 2021, include the BPE, Ministry of Finance, AEDC, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and United Capital Trustees Limited as 3rd to 7th defendants respectively.

The plaintiffs had sought an order restraining the AGF, CBN, BPE and Ministry of Finance from interfering with the operations and management of AEDC .

They also sought an order, restraining the AGF, CBN, BPE and the Finance Ministry from taking any steps which may transfer or forfeit or reduce, or takeover the 60 per cent shareholding of the 2nd plaintiff in AEDC in any manner or limit the 2nd plaintiff ability to exercise its full rights over the shares pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

Upon resumption of the matter, Aderemi informed that the case was adjourned for report of settlement and that parties had been discussing on the subject.

The lawyer, however, said that the plaintiffs received a letter from counsel for the 7rh defendant (the United Capital Trustees Limited), Wole Olanipekun, SAN, rejecting a mediator that was appointed.

“We got a letter to that effect from office of Wole Olanipekun that the mediator appointed was unaccepted,” he said.

Aderemi subsequently sought for another adjournment to afford parties further opportunity to explore out-of-court settlement and lawyers to the other parties did not object the application.

Justice Ekwo then adjourned the matter until Sept. 26 to allow for conclusion of the report of settlement.(NAN)