Community, group go to court over NDDC appointments
Others back nominees.
An association in Akwa Ibom State, Incorporated Trustees of Oron Union, has approached the Federal High Court seeking an interim order to stop the Senate from confirming the nomination of Nsima Ekere and Frank George for appointment as the managing director and commissioner on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The union also asked the court to restrain further appointments to the board pending the outcome of the suit.
In a suit No. FSC/ABJ/CS/603/2016 dated August 3 and filed on August 11, the community (Plaintiff/Applicant), represented by its President General, Dr. Effiom Eduna, told the court that the nominations of Ekere and George were wrongly made as both of them were not from the oil-producing areas of Akwa Ibom State.
The Counsel to the plaintiff, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), having secured the leave of the court to hear the case during its long vacation due to its urgent nature, asked the court to give an ex-parte order restraining the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the National Assembly from confirming the appointments.
According to him, the NDDC Act sets out those qualified to be made managing director and commissioner of the board.
He added that paragraphs 20 and 21 of the affidavit in support of the application stated that the fifth and sixth defendants were not from the oil-producing areas of Akwa Ibom State and as such they were not qualified to assume the positions for which the Federal Government and the commission have forwarded their names to the National Assembly.
Justice Okon Abang reserved ruling on the motion exparte until he hears and determines the motion on notice, which has been adjourned till August 23.
Also, a group in Delta State has initiated an action against President Muhammadu Buhari at a Federal High Court in Asaba for ‘excluding’ Ndokwa indigenes from recent appointments into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). It prayed the court to mandate the President to appoint an Ndokwa person into the board.
Joined in suit are Saraki, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubarkar Malami, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and three others.
The plaintiff, Concerned Ndokwa Patriots (CNP), urged the court to restrain the National Assembly from screening and confirming the nominees as well as halting the President from swearing them in as board members until an indigene was appointed.
Citing sections of the 1999 Constitution, the group seeks to know why no Ndokwa/Ukwuani indigene has been appointed since the commission came into existence on June 5, 2000.
The applicant’s counsel, A.C. Oluiji, argued that the ethic nationality has, for decades, been responsible for 12 per cent of the total volume oil and gas from the Niger Delta.
He added the ethic group plays host to the largest oil and gas recycling plant in West Africa, Kwale/Okpai Gas Plant. It is operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and supplies electricity to 14 states of the federation.
However, four groups, African Network for Empowerment and Strategy (ANES), Isoko Progressive Youth Centre (IPYC), Isoko Lions Movement (ILM) as well as All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders of Itsekiri extraction in Delta State have commended Buhari for the nominations.
The ANES, IPYC and ILM, in separate statements said the nominations of Hon. Adjogbe Ajenakevwe and Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo came at the right time as they were qualified. The statements were signed by the group’s leaders, Comrade Ogbo Nasser (ANES), Comrade Anthony A.A. Ogbalor (IPYC) and Comrade Emonena Cyril Oshogbor (ILM).