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Court asked to declare NDDC interim mgt committee illegal

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Registered trustees of the Niger Delta Youth Forum have filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The plaintiffs, Itoldem Daghware, Bishop Chuck Johnson and Akinterinwa Julius, are contending that the committee’s inauguration by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, “is in flagrant abuse of the NDDC Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the IMC members presently composed of representation from five instead of the nine oil-producing states.”

The applicants filed the case on behalf of themselves as elders and community leaders/members of oil producing communities of Ilaje, Umuorji (Ohaji/Egbema) and Uhrobo in the Niger Delta region.

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The respondents include the Attorney General of the Federation; the National Assembly; the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; the NDDC; Prof. David Pondei; Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Mr. Ibanga Bassey Etang; Mrs. Caroline Nagbo and Mrs. Cecilia Bukola Akintomide.

In the originating summons filed by their counsel, Ademola Dere and James Ode Abah at the weekend, the plaintiffs want the court to determine whether by the provisions of the NDDC Act, the minister, on the order of the president, could appoint and constitute the IMC of the NDDC.

They argued that the action was “illegal, unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of Section 2,7,9, 10 and 12(2), (3) of the NDDC Act (as amended). The claimants said they want the court to declare whether the “purported appointment of Prof. Pondei and others by the minister as members of the IMC was not alien to the provisions of Section 2,7,9, 10 and 12(2), (3) of the NDDC (Establishment, Etc) (Amendment) Act 2017.”

In addition, the trustees also want the court to determine whether by the “appointment of the IMC members from five states and leaving four others with no representation was not discriminatory, unlawful, illegal, ultravires, unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of relevant sections of the NDDC Act and Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

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They further asked the court to declare whether by the “appointment of the IMC members on the premise of forensic exercise with portfolios and management of various departments of the NDDC was not an aberration of the constitutionally defined management and administrative checks and accountability as set in the NDDC Act, especially at Sections 2,9,10 and 12(2)(3) with no specified tenure of office and inauguration of the board of the commission.”

The plaintiffs therefore prayed the court to issue an order “restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, and the National Assembly from recognising, accepting and giving legal effect to the composition and selection of the IMC by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs as well as declaring the action as illegal and unconstitutional.”
The case is yet to be assigned.

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