Niger Delta: LEDAP Files Suit Challenging Powers Of Godswill Akpabio

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, challenging the powers of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to constitute an interim management committee to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The announcement of an interim management team had sparked outrage in the Niger Delta states as many see the move as a way to scuttle the development projects of NDDC.

The Minister was quoted as saying that the interim committee was to prepare ground for the new Board and supervise the forensic audit which the President had ordered weeks ago.

LEDAP in the suit, filed by its Executive Director, Chino Obiagwu SAN, is challenging the appointment of the interim board on the grounds that it is contrary to specific sections of the NDDC Act as amended.

Joined as plaintiffs in the suit are some indigenes of the Niger Delta area, including Iruo Onoruvwe, Anatole Osuji, and Walter Abere.

Other defendants aside the Minister and the NDDC are Dr Gbene Joi Nunieh, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, and Chief Ibanga Basset Etang.

LEDAP specifically wants the four to declare that the purported appointment
by the first defendant of a three-man interim management for the second defendant is contrary to sections 2, 10, and 12 of the NDDC Act 6 2000(as amended).

A declaration that the purported appointment by the first defendant of the third defendant as the Managing Director of the second defendant, the fourth as Executive Director, Projects, and the fifth defendant as Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the second defendant are contrary to the provisions of section 12(1)c of the NDCC Act as amended, which provides that the Managing Director and two executive directors of the second defendant shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and confirmed by the Senate in consultation with the House of Representatives.

A declaration that by virtue of Section12(2) of the second defendant of the NDDC Act,the Managing Director of the second defendant performs his functions under the general direction of the board of the second defendant.

A declaration that the first defendant cannot validly appoint the 3rd-5th defendants as acting Managing Director; and Executive Directors of the second defendant while the list of nominated members of board of the second
defendant submitted by the President, pursuant to sections 2, 10, and 12 of the NDDC Act 2000 to the National Assembly is pending the approval of of the Senate.

An order nullifying the purported appointmentsof the 3rd-5th defendants as acting Managing Director and Executive Directors of the second defendant;

An order restraining the second defendant and its management from handing over, and, or permitting the 3rd-5th defendants to assume the office of the Managing Director and Executive Directors of the second defendant;

An order restraining the first defendant by himself or anyhow whatsoever from interfering in the affairs of the second defendant in manner inconsistent with the provisions of the NDDC Act.

The court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the suit.

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