The Federal High Court, Abuja has granted an order stopping the National Assembly from screening and confirming the nominated chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ms. Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku, reports The Nation.
It urged that all actions on the matter be suspended pending the determination of the suit filed by Chief Edward Ekpokpo Esq., Engr. Victor Wood (both representing the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) and Mr. Edward Omagbemi (representing Omadino Unity Forum) on behalf of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, challenging the nomination of the duo as Chairman and MD of the NDDC board, Monday, December 12.
Chief Ekpokpo Esq., Engr. Wood and Mr. Omagbemi are plaintiffs in the suit which has President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the House of Senate, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants.
The originating summons with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/2294/2022 is among others, seeking a restraining order on the National Assembly from screening and confirming the duo of Onochie and Ogbuku as substantive Chairman and MD of the NDDC board.
The suit which was filed by Ama Etuwewe SAN & Co., on behalf of the plaintiffs, demands that the provisions of the NDDC Act be followed in the process, maintaining that it is the turn of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality “being the highest oil producing community in Delta state,” to produce the NDDC board chairman and MD.
It insisted that the rights of the Itsekiri people are being “threatened” by the nomination and hitherto confirmation of the duo.
The presiding judge, Hon. Justice J. K. Omotosho, upon reading the affidavit and hearing the counsel to the plaintiff, ordered “that the reliefs relating to Interim injunction are hereby refused.
“That leave is hereby granted to the plaintiffs to serve the 5th and 6th defendants with the originating processes in this suit by substituted means to wit by advertising the processes in at least one national newspaper circulating within the jurisdiction of this to court and to deem same as proper service.
“That an order is hereby made that no party in this suit shall take any step or act or action that may make the outcome of the pending motion on notice for injunction Dated and filed 12th December 2022, nugatory.
“That any act or step or action taken in this order to make the outcome of the said motion on notice dated and filed 12th December, 2022 nugatory shall be a nullity”.
The court adjourned the matter to January 11, 2023 for further hearing.
•Text, except headline, courtesy of the Nation newspaper.