Court Threatens FIRS Chair With Sack Over Tenure Elongation

The embattled Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler is in the news again as a Federal High Court sitting in Kano has threatened  to send him packing for  alleged illegal tenure elongation.
The Court has therefore ordered Fowler’s appearance before it on Monday, October 7, 2019 and show cause why he should not be sent packing for overstaying his four-year tenure that effectively expired on Sunday, August 18, 2019.

The presiding judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, after listening to the plaintiff’s counsel on September 23, also ordered that the defendant, Fowler, should be served in Abuja for him filed his defence within five days.

The Suit No FHC/KN/CS/141/2019, is accusing the FIRS Chairman of breaching existing public service rules by his continued stay in office when the tenure has expired. 

The Plaintiff, Stanley Okwara, in a suit filed on September 18, joined the Attorney General of the Federation as the second defendant.

According to the originating summon, both defendants were given 30 days to explain why  Fowler, who was appointed on the August 18, 2015, has not ceased to hold office as the Chairman of FIRS after l August 20, 2019 in accordance with the  “decision of the Supreme Court…and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a)” of the agency.

The Plaintiffs also sought to know whether the continuous stay of Fowler in the office “is not illegal in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105 and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections of the FIRS [Establishment] Act, 2007.

In the same vein, Okwara in the suit filed through Johnmary C. Jideobi & Co, sought other reliefs including:  “A declaration that the 1st Defendant has ceased to hold office as the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service after the 20th of August, 2019”; and that his continuous stay in the office  is illegal.

He further sought “an order barring the 1st Defendant from further holding himself out as, laying claim to or exercising the powers and functions of, the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service unless he is re-appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“An order directing the 1st Defendant to return forthwith to the Treasury Single Account of the Federation all the salaries, emoluments and such other kindred monetary benefits he has been drawing on the purse of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and file an affidavit of compliance within 14 days after the delivery of judgment in this suit.”

The Plaintiff also asked that Fowler be caused ordered to obey any other decision that the Court may deem fit to make in the entire circumstances of the case.

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