The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered that the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh, be remanded in a correctional facility for a minimum of 30 days.
Justice Anwuri Chikere gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on contempt proceedings against the BPE and its director-general.
BFIG, the preferred bidder for the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), had initiated the suit against the BPE and Okoh in April.
ALSCON which is located at Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State has been the subject of an ownership struggle since the government privatised the firm in 2004.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Chikere accused Okoh of serial disobedience of the Supreme Court order on the controversy surrounding the ownership of ALSCON.
She held that the continued refusal to obey the Supreme Court order was a fundamental violation of the rule of law, which portrayed the government as lawless.
Russia’s Rusal had claimed ownership of the company while the indigenous BFIG won a Supreme Court ruling backing its ownership claim.
Despite multiple court rulings, the Nigerian Government, represented by the privatisation agency, BPE, has refused to transfer ownership of the firm to BFIG.
BFIG won the initial bid in 2004 but the BPE cancelled the process in controversial circumstances.
The preferred bidder, thereafter, won a legal battle to reclaim ALSCON in a judgment by the Supreme Court on July 6, 2012.