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Groups sue Buhari, others over NDDC board, as Warri chiefs want recall of submitted list

Uyo—A coalition of groups under the aegis of Concerned Civil Society Stakeholders (CCSS) in the Niger Delta region has sued President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged abnormalities in the recently constituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), according to the Vanguard.

The suit, filed at the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, had as defendants: the Senate President, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the National Assembly and the NDDC.

The plaintiffs are challenging what they called abnormalities in the composition of the new board, which they noted: “clearly violated the relevant sections of the Act establishing the NDDC in 2000.”

The groups, therefore, prayed the court to determine: “Whether the nomination and appointment of the Akwa Ibom representative, Dr. Emem Wills, on the board, is not an infraction of section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act?

“Whether the purported confirmation of the appointments of Chairman and other members, is not unlawful, null and void, and a crass infraction of the provisions of section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act, 2000?”

Addressing some newsmen yesterday in Uyo, the National Coordinator of the coalition, Prince Ekpuk Jumbo, described the suit as the last resort to correct the inherent anomalies in the recently constituted board and urged the President to allow equity, justice and fair play to prevail in the issue.

Based on the extant and clear provision, the plaintiffs, therefore, sought “an order of injunction restraining the defendants be it by themselves, servants, person or persons howsoever from further proceedings, sessions, meetings and deliberations howsoever in connection, and or relation to the purported confirmation of chairman and other members of the NDDC Board

In another development, Warri Council of Chiefs has urged Buhari to recall the list of NDDC board nominees recently sent to the Senate, saying it lacked equity and justice.

The council also urged the Senate to reject the list in the interest of national unity, saying Itsekiri ethnic nationality should be considered in the appointment of the top leadership of the board.

Rising from its emergency meeting in Warri, the chiefs in a communique by Chief Robinson Ariyo and Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, said the nomination of the Chairman of the proposed board, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, was unfair to Itsekiri ethnic group. They explained that the ethnic group produces the highest quantum of oil in Delta State.

The communiqué read in part, “The Council completely rejects the nomination of Lauretta Ifeanyi Onochie by President Buhari, and calls on him to recall the list of nominees to reconsider the applicable statutes and principles, particularly in the interest of the overriding objective of national unity, equity and harmonious co-existence and distributive justice; requiring the application of the quantum of contribution.

“The council calls on Buhari to invoke and apply the spirit and intent of the relevant and applicable statutes as well as the overriding objective of national unity, equity and harmonious co-existence and the principle of distributive justice and ensure that slots of the Chairman or Managing Director, as well as Delta State Representative on the Governing Board of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, are guaranteed the people of Delta State in the circumstances.”

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