Federal High Court sacks NDDC interim management committee

Federal High Court sacks NDDC interim management committee

- The interim management committee of the NDDC has been sacked by a court in Abuja

- The court also ordered a probe of the committee and the minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio

- The committee has been enmeshed in one controversy or the other since it was inaugurated

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an order to investigate the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the five members of the embattled Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) interim management committee over allegations of N3 billion contract fraud.

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, ex-agitators, and the Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) have also thrown their weight behind the order, ThisDay reports.

In suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020, Justice Mohammed, in a ruling on an application by a Civil Society Organisation Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, restrained the affected officials from parading themselves as board members of the NDDC.

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Federal High Court sacks NDDC interim management committee
The Pondei-led committee has been shown the way out of the NDDC by a court. Photo credit: @NDDCOnline
Source: Twitter

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Justice Ahmed Mohammed also granted leave to the applicant to apply for judicial review for an order of mandamus compelling the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), sued as the 9th defendant in the suit.

In addition, the court restrained Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Mr Cairo Ojougboh, and others from performing the functions of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

But, a source who sent a counter-argument on the case to journalists said the court was misinterpreted.

The source who chose to be anonymous said:

“By rules of FCT high court, ex parte orders expire after one week. This purported order was granted before 5th November (if) and sensationalizing it on December 2nd is the height of mischief. An order against NDDC that was not a party to the suit?

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“A closer scrutiny shows there was indeed no restraining order, the court granted a waiver to file and argue application for mandamus. However, we have taken steps this morning to quash the purported sensational order.”

Recall that a group, Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI), recently called for the suspension of Akpabio.

The group made the demand in a press statement sent to journalists on Monday, August 17, and signed by its executive director, Ambassador Yomi David.

The group also called for the suspension of the IMC and the NDDC, accusing them of corruption and mismanagement of the interventionist agency.

Experts say the NDDC is reputed to be one of Nigeria's most corrupt federal government agency, with politicians in successive governments emptying the treasury of the commission repeatedly while their bosses look away.

At the moment, more than 200 students who landed a scholarship through the NDDC in 2019 are currently stranded in the United Kingdom.

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