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$150m Suit: Court Admits Bablink Witness’ Documents In Evidence



Justice Edward Okpe of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Nyanya has admitted in evidence, several documents tendered by Bablink Resources Nig. Ltd. against Brentex Petroleum Ltd and China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd.

At a resumed hearing on Thursday, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), who appeared for the claimants (Bablink), called his first witness in the matter.

The claimant’s witness, Mr. Ganni Isiaka, a director in Bablink, adopted his witness statement on oath as several documents were tendered and admitted through him.

However, counsel for the defendants, H. M Danjuma sought leave that his right to object to all the documents tendered by the claimant be reserved for final address, and the same application was granted.

Nevertheless, the tendered documents were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits BRN 1 to BRN 19 respectively.

Thereafter, the defendant’s Counsel sought an adjournment because they were not ready for cross-examination.

Earlier, an effort by Aondoakaa to call the claimant’s first witness was vehemently opposed by a lawyer to the defendants.

Danjuma told the court that the defendants had applied to the vacation Judge for the matter to be re-assigned and that the said application was granted by the vacation Judge.

However, the presiding judge, Edward Okpe informed the defendant’s counsel that the case file before him which is marked CV/589/2023, had not at any time been transmitted to the chief judge for re-assignment.

The judge stated that it was rather the case file in motions marked M/2083/23 and M/2084/23 that were transmitted to the chief judge for re-assignment.

Given the foregoing, counsel to the defendants, then said they were not ready to proceed as they needed time to put their house in order.

Reacting, Aondoakaa dismissed the defendants’ reason for an adjournment and urged the court to discount the application for adjournment and proceed with the hearing of the matter.

But Danjuma replied that his application for adjournment was on the grounds of a fair hearing.
However, in a bench ruling on the application for adjournment, the court held that the application by the defendant’s counsel for adjournment has no leg upon which it can stand, saying that fair hearing is for all the parties as well as the court.

Justice Okpe added that the defendants have not in any way been deprived of their right to a fair hearing but the same has been accorded to them as they were served with the Writ of Summons since December 18, 2023, but have failed to file a defense even when they were in court on the last adjourned date when the matter was adjourned to today for hearing.

It was the court’s opinion that a fair hearing is also for the claimant, and for the defendant to not be ready and then seek adjournment to the detriment of the claimant who is ready to proceed is also an encroachment on the claimant’s right to a fair hearing.

Consequently, the defendant’s application for adjournment was refused by the court and the claimant was granted leave to call its first witness.

The matter has been adjourned with the consent of parties to the February 13, 2024, for the continuation of the hearing.

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Optometrists Board staff call on Tinubu to investigate Registrar/CEO, Dr Obinna Edwin Awiaka.



The staff of the office of the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria, (ODORBN) a Parastatal under the Federal Ministry of health have appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider beaming his search light in their office with a view to investigating the leadership style of their Registrar/CEO, Dr Obinna Edwin Awiaka.

The staff complained bitterly that since the assumption in office of the Registrar June 1st, 2023, the once bubbling and lively office has suddenly become a living hell for them.

According to some of the staff who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons noted that the leadership style of the Registrar/CEO can only be compared to that of IdiAmin of the then Uganda.

They revealed that the first thing Dr Awiaka did immediately he resumed was to totally dismantle the existing organization organogram which was purely set up in line with the civil service rules, thereby deliberately making all the Directors, their deputies and assistants inactive. He was also said to have even gone ahead to abolish the management meeting were robust discussion about the organization were been churned out.

Regrettably, the staff noted that Dr Awiaka had boasted severally that he does not believe in the civil service rules which informed why he has absolute disregard for the structure he met on ground when he came in.

One of the staff said, “You cannot imagine that all the departments are now been headed by junior officers. Currently the ICT department is been headed by a staff with just a school certificate, while the Procurement department is been headed by a procurement assistant, whereas there are qualified officers hitherto handling these offices.

“Because of his alleged high-handedness and his tyrannically style of leadership, he has transfered all the Directors, their deputies and assistants under very flimsy reasons. It’s either you do his bidding or you are out. For example, the Director of Admin has been transfered to National Task Force unit for refusing to sign a document he was not aware of. Also, the head of Procurement was transferred to the national Task Force, procurement unit where he does work that belittle his position. It is even said that the so called National Task Force unit does not even exist in the structure of the Organization, it’s merely a creation of the Registrar and his Aide where their perceived enemies are transfered to. Some of the Directors have been transfered out of the headquarters for no particular reason,”

One other staff accused Dr Awiaka of flooding the organization with so many aides who have virtually taken over the running of the office and have even become larger than life. “The office is littered with his Aides of different kinds. He has Special technical Adviser, Special Adviser, Personal Assistant, Technical Adviser, Special Adviser on Inter Governmental Affairs, and several others. And for you to remain relevant in the office you must have to be in the good books of these aides,” He lamented.

The staff also accused the Registrar of running the organization like his private office as he hardly comes to the office, virtually runing the office from the diaspora, “Dr Awaka hardly comes to the office, he comes maybe once in two weeks. Sometimes we don’t see him for a whole month. We can count how many times we have seen him in the office this year. These Aides help him to run the office.

These staff therefore call on the Nigeria President to come to their aid stressing that if nothing is done, and done very fast, the organization is definitely heading for disaster. The staff revealed that the Registrar has the boldness to do whatever he likes because he has boasted severally that he has the backing of some top officials of the Federal Ministry of health. The main reason the Ministry has not bothered to beam their searchlight on the organization despite the outcry of the staff. “He has always boasted to us that nobody can sack him, that he is in a very good relationship with those in the supervising Ministry” one of the staff stated.

Meanwhile, attempt to hear from the Registrar/CEO for his own side of the story proves abortive as he did not pick the several calls put across to him.

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