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NDDC: Court Adjourns to Oct 19 Definite Hearing for Suit Seeking Nullification of IMC

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Jude Johnson

A Federal High court sitting in Abuja on Friday, th adjourned to to October 19, 2020, for a suit filed by Lawyers for themselves and on behalf of Comrade Itoldem Deghware and Others vs Attorney General of the Federation and Others in suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/ 404/2020.

The suit is seeking for the nullification of the appointment of the 5th to 9th defendant as members of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an appointment and position which is unknown to the NDDC Establishment Act 2000 and Amendment Acts 2017.

The case came up before Honorable Justice Iyang Ekwo for further mention with the Defendant (AG of the Federation) and 3rd Respondent ( Minister for Niger Delta Affairs) informing the court that they have filed their counter affidavit to the originating Summons. They also moved motion for applications to regularise their defence processes as they were filed out of time .

There was no appearance by the NDDC, the members of the Interim Management Committee as well as the National Assembly. As a result of the absence of the NDDC and the members of the interim Management Committee which are the 4th -9th defendants, the court ordered that they be served with hearing notices of the next date which is for definite hearing.
Due to the annual vacation of the court which is to commence later this month and end in September, the suit was adjourned to the 19th of 0ctober 2020 for definite hearing.

The court had on Friday, June 19, 2020 heard the application / originating summons but subsequently adjourned the matter to the 3rd of July 2020 so the defendants can be duly and properly served.

The plaintiffs in the suit comrade Itoldem Daghware, Bishop Chuck Johnson , Julius Akinterinwa and the Registered Trustees of the Niger Delta Youth Forum had taken the Federal government to court over its decision to inaugurate an Interim Management Committee to run the NDDC. According to the plaintiffs , the appointment of the members of that committee is illegal, unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of Section 2,7,9 ,10 and 12(2),(3) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) (Amendment) Act 2017.

The plaintiffs are also saying that the appointment of members of the committee is illegal, unlawful, and a flagrant abuse of the afore- mentioned sections of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, Etc) (Amendment) Act 2017 and Usurpation of the powers of the Board .

Joined in the suit as co-respondents are: 1. The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, 2. The National Assembly. 3 The Minster of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio 4. The Niger Delta Development Commission. 5. Professor David K. Pondei (Ag. MD) 6, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh (Ag. ED Projects) 7, Mr. Ibanga Bassey Etang (Ag. ED Finance) 8, Mrs Caroline Nagbo (Member) and 9, Mrs Cecilia Akintomide (Member)

The plaintiffs, through their lawyers, Ademola Dere and James Ode Abah , are challenging the constitution of the Interim Management committee for the NDDC. They consider that action illegal, unconstitutional and a flagrant abuse of Section 2,7,9 ,10 and 12(2),(3) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) (Amendment) Act 2017.

The plaintiffs are amongst other reliefs sought, asking the court to determine whether the appointment of the Interim Management Commission for the Niger Delta Development Commission is not an aberration of the constitutionally defined board / management and administrative checks and accountability as set in the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, Etc) (Amendment) Act 2017.

They are also asking the court to declare that the appointment of the Interim Management Committee members is illegal ,ultra vires ,null and void and in flagrant abuse of the establishing Act and appointment in the 4th defendants commission in flagrant abuse of Section 3, 7 ,12 and 23 of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, etc) (Amendment) Act 2017 and Sections 42 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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