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Federal High Court Ruling on IMC: Buhari should stop the charade at NDDC

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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio PHOTO:Twitter

It is shameful that the lies and plots undertaken by the Niger Delta Minister Chief Godswill Akpabio in hijacking the Niger Delta Development Commission have come to a shameful denouement in two illegal heads laying claim to the headship of the agency. It underscores the tardiness of the Buhari Administration in its disregard for the law. The latest embarrassment is from the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which said in plain terms that the Federal Government lied in stating that it (the court) gave a restraining order against the Interim Management Committee imposed on the NDDC, on which basis Chief Akpabio caused one of his former aides, Mr Effiong Okon Akwa, to take over as sole administrator.

In appointing Mr Effiong Okon Akwa as the sole administrator of the NDDC, the minister had claimed that the Court gave a specific restraining order against the IMC. At the time he made that imposition of Mr Effiong Akwa in December 2020, we had pointed out the absurdity in replacing an illegal appointment with an equally illegal appointment. Both the IMC and the sole administrator are illegal appointments as they are unknown to the NDDC Act of 2000 as amended, which prescribes that the NDDC shall be managed by a Governing Board with membership from the 9 constituent states.

The notice announcing Mr Effiong Okon Akwa as sole administrator, which was made by the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, claimed that: “The development became necessary as a result of a plethora of litigation and a restraining order issued recently against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC by a Federal High Court in Abuja.”

However, the court in a declaration made on Wednesday, January 20, said “that there was no order for interim injunction (against the IMC) granted by this court”. In effect, the federal government acted on a non-existent order. The objective clearly was to get a basis to further Akpabio’s fraudulent agenda with the appointment of his crony, Effiong Okon Akwa, as sole administrator instead of putting a Board in place in line with the NDDC Act.

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It should be clear to all now that the Niger Delta Minister Chief Godswill Akpabio in the pursuit of his selfish agenda has bastardised the management and stability of the NDDC.

It was clear to us and perceptive Niger Deltans that the appointment of Mr Effiong Okon Akwa was part of the fraudulent manipulations of Akpabio in his drive to personally control and appropriate the resources of the NDDC through his cronies.

President Buhari should put a stop to this charade by inaugurating the Governing Board of the Commission as provided for in the NDDC Act. The unfortunate and unwholesome development where both an illegal IMC and an illegal sole administrator will now be laying claim to the headship of the NDDC is sickening and must not be permitted any further.

Since Akpabio launched his fraudulent schemes to hijack the NDDC in October 2019, the Commission has been riddled with instability, corruption, mismanagement and financial recklessness on a grand scale, while the agency has abandoned its goals and obligation to the Niger Delta people. This must not continue.

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We call on President Buhari to stem the slide to anarchy at the NDDC orchestrated by its supervising minister, Chief Godswill Akpabio. Mr President should as a matter of urgency follow the law and inaugurate a Governing Board for the Commission to put an end to this descent to anarchy at the NDDC.

Comrade Damian Nwikinaka is the National Chairman Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition.

This post is sponsored by Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition.

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