The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, on Monday lost the bid to halt the probe of the N10 billion jet scandal by the House of Representatives.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja declined to grant an order of interim injunction brought by the Minister and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The embattled Minister and the NNPC had approached the court seeking to stop their probe over an alleged N10 billon spent on chartering of aircraft pending the determination of their suit.
However, the trial Judge, Justice Mohammed, granted an accelerated hearing of the suit.
It will be recalled that the Chairman House Committee on Media, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, had few weeks ago announced that the House would not go ahead with the scheduled probe of Alison-Madueke and the NNPC because of a court order.
Embarrassed by the newspapers headlines, Justice Mohammed had at the last sitting of the court demanded to know from the counsel to the Minister and the NNPC where the said order restraining the House from going ahead with the probe originated from.
“I’m interest in where they got the order from since it did not emanate from this court,” the judge had said.
But, Etigwe Uwah, counsel to the Minister and NNPC, also denied knowledge of the order, saying the reports emanated from the House, adding that he was also shocked when he saw the reports.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives through its counsel, A.B. Mahmud (SAN), tendered apology before the court for announcing at a press conference that the court had stopped the probe of the jet scandal.
According to the counsel, they misconstrued the Originating Summons for an order of the court that had been granted.
While accepting the apology, the trial Judge directed the House to clarify issues with the media.
In his submission, Uwah prayed the court to grant an order of interim injunction stopping the probe of his clients.
He said the House will commence the probe on June 17, arguing that the action will jeopardise the ongoing legal process.
Mahmud however assured the court that the probe would not jeopardise the legal process, urging the court to grant accelerated hearing instead.
Consequently, the court ordered both parties to exchange all necessary processes and adjourned the case till to June 19 for hearing.