Reconstitution of NDDC board is illegal, says Adegboruwa
Eminent lawyer and human rights campaigner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has described the reconstitution of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as illegal. He said the purported reconstitution of the Board was done when there was a pending court case against the dissolution of the 4th Board of the Commission at the National Industrial Court (NIC), Abuja.
In a statement yesterday, the lawyer expressed great shock at the news that President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the names of new members of the Board of the NDDC, to the Senate for confirmation.
He also urged the president to withdraw the nomination of Olatokunbo Ayotunde Ajasin as a representative of the oil producing area of Ondo State on the Board of the NDDC. He added that he would file a suit in court to challenge the said nomination if the president went ahead with his nomination because it is contrary to the NDDC Act.
According to Adegboruwa, Ajasin who is an indigene of Owo, in the North Senatorial District of Ondo State, is not from the oil producing area of the state. “By any account, Ajasin is eminently qualified on the merit, to occupy any position that the President may deem fit for that purpose, but such appointment, in relation to the NDCC, must be in conformity with the enabling law, in this case the Niger Delta Establishment Act, 2000, he said, insisting that Section 2 of the NDDC Act states that representatives of the states constituting the Board of the NDDC shall be indigenes of oil producing area, and that Ajasin is not from the oil producing area of Ondo State, being a native of Owo.
He said: “First, there is a case, Suit No. NICN/ABJ/269/2015, between Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw & 9 Ors. v. Hon Attorney-General of the Federation & 4 Ors, pending before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, challenging the illegal dissolution of the 4th Governing Board of the NDDC. The President is a party to the said suit.
“Very recently, the President lambasted the entire judiciary in Nigeria, for allegedly frustrating the nebulous and selective anti-corruption war. When convenient for the President, he will violate all tenets of democracy and the rule of law and turn around to intimidate the judiciary. The law is fairly well settled now that when parties have submitted their disputes before a competent court of law, they are not allowed thereafter to resort to self help or take steps that may render nugatory, any decision that may be taken by the court ultimately, on the said matter.” He argued that while the case is pending in court, the President proceeded to dissolve the Board of the NDDC and appointed a sole administrator, contrary to the provisions of the NDDC Act.