Court Stops NNPC Recruitment Over Age Requirement

Afederal high court in Abuja has ordered the suspension of Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation's ongoing job recruitment pending the
determination of a suit filed by Pelumi Olajengbesi.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Olajengbesi, a public
interest lawyer, commenced the enforcement of the fundamental rights
of all potential applicants to set aside the recruitment by the NNPC
on the ground that it was discriminatory.

The recruitment had disqualified Nigerians above the age of 28 from
applying for the vacant positions.

Olajengbesi had faulted the age criterion placed on the ongoing
recruitment of the NNPC noting that it violated section 3(e)(iv) of
the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure), 2009 which protected
the public interest of Nigerians

He had written to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr.
Maikanti Baru, on March 26, threatening to drag the organisation to
court for placing discriminatory age requirements on qualified
Nigerians who would have applied for the jobs advertised by the

The NNPC had invited applications from candidates for a number of
positions including trainees who must not be more than 28 years as of
December 31, 2018, and had graduated from a university or polytechnic
not earlier than 2014.

At the hearing on October 18, the applicant prayed the court to ensure
that justice was served on the unemployed Nigerians who needed to know
their stand in the matter.

“The matter has long been before the court and the rest of the matter
is at a stake and under Order 8 Rule 4 of the Article II of the
African Charter of Human and People’s Right (Ratification and
Enforcement) Act.

“I pray that the matter be heard together with the preliminary
objection filed by the respondents in the interest of justice,” the
applicant said.

When the matter was called up, the applicant’s counsel informed the
court that the respondent filed his counter on October 15, 2019.

In reply, the respondent informed the court that he was sick and had
surgery. The presiding judge, Justice Muhammed Tsoho informed the
respondent's counsel that his counter was not properly filed before
the court and had not been regularised.

The court in considering the urgent nature of the matter granted an
adjournment for the respondents to regularise their counter.

Tsoho, however, ordered that parties must maintain the status quo
pending the hearing of the substantive suit. He adjourned the matter
until October 29 for hearing.