Seplat Energy has appointed the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Samson Ezugworie, as its interim Chief Executive Officer, pending the determination of a court case against Roger Brown.
Prime Business Africa previously reported that aggrieved stakeholders petitioned a Federal High Court in Lagos, accusing Brown of racism, discriminating against Nigerian employees but favouring foreign workers.
The court ruled in the interim that pending the case against Brown, the Seplat CEO should step aside from his role, and shouldn’t be directly or indirectly involved in the company’s affair.
Brown is restrained from “day-to-day running and management of Seplat Energy or in any manner whatsoever pending the determination of [the] hearing and determination of the petitioners’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” Justice C. J. Aneke said.
Aside from the ruling, the Federal Government had also barred Brown from entering Nigeria after seizing his visa and working permit due to the allegations against him.
The Ministry of Interior wrote to Seplat: “Investigation and records in the Ministry also revealed that Mr Roger Brown was in possession of CERPAC that was not based on validly issued Expatriate Quota approved by the Ministry of Interior resulting to the violation of relevant Immigration Laws and Regulations. As a result of these, the Honourable Minister has determined that Mr Brown’s continued stay in Nigeria is contrary to the national interest.
“Consequently, the Ministry has withdrawn the Work Permit CERPAC, Visa, Residence Permit and all relevant documents that authorised Mr Roger Thomson Brown’s entry or stay in Nigeria”, the letter reads.
After FG revoked his work permit and Visa, Seplat said Brown will work from the company’s foreign office in the United Kingdom, to continue his role as CEO.
However, following the court ruling, Seplat backtracked on Friday, stating Ezugworie will act as CEO for seven days pending the determination of the case against Brown.
In a statement on Friday, Seplat said: “on March 9, 2023, it was served with court processes and ex-parte Interim Order of the Hon Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Nigeria, restraining the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Roger Brown from participating in the running of the Company [for a period of 7 days].”
Part of the statement also reads: “Mr Brown has delegated authority to Mr Samson Ezugworie, Chief Operating Officer, to act as CEO during the period that he is required to step back from his executive duties.”