The petition accused the judge of issuing orders capable of negatively affecting the business dealings of Petrocam.
Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, an oil and gas company, and its Managing Director, Patrick Ilo, have petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate the alleged abuse and "reckless use of judicial powers" by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, a sitting Federal High Court judge.
In the petition titled: 'Complaint against Perceived Abuse and Reckless Use of Judicial Powers to Oppress and Cause Grievous Damage to our Business Interest by Hon. Justice R.M Aikawa of the Federal High Court', the oil company accused the judge of granting an ex-parte order filed by Union Bank without considering the “far reaching effect of the orders”.
The petition also accused the judge of issuing orders capable of negatively affecting the business dealings of Petrocam.
The oil and gas company said the judge further adjourned the proceeding for seven weeks, rather than for a brief period, because of the nature of the order.
The petition, which was signed by Petrocam's Managing Director, read: “The account of the 1st and the 2nd defendants in all commercial banks were frozen. Even though it was under the guise of Mereva injunction, it went further to effectively shut down all our business relationships and ties without deeming it fit to direct the defendants to be put on notice as envisaged by your Lordship and the Supreme Court in several cases.
“The implication of the far-reaching order made by His Lordship is to destroy all the good will and business connections the defendants have built over years with the stroke of the pen without giving us a hearing at all. This is even more painful to us when we realised that we have genuine grouse against Union Bank with respect to the management of our accounts.
“My Lord, it was shocking to us that the order ex-parte was made by His Lordship on the 27th of March, 2018, rather than adjourn for a brief period because of the far-reaching mature of the order. His Lordship adjourned for seven weeks to the 9th of May, 2018 for mention with the intervention of the Acting CJ. His Lordship now fixed the hearing of the matter for the 4th of May, 2018 at which date Messrs Aribisala SAN did not appear in court but wrote to the court that he has travelled to England for his 60th birthday celebration.”
The company and its MD held that the judge merely adjourned the proceeding without considering their position and the fact that Aribisala had other lawyers in his firm, who could have held brief for him.
The two petitioners are therefore asking NJC to investigate the matter for appropriate disciplinary action against the judicial offer.
When Aribisala (SAN) was contacted, he refrained from commenting on the issue, stating that the petition is already before the NJC and any comment might be prejudicial.