Obey court order on NDDC, Ijaw leader urges Malami, Akpabio

Obey court order on NDDC, Ijaw leader urges Malami, Akpabio

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The President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, has urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and his Niger Delta Affairs counterpart, Godswill Akpabio, to obey the recent order of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, stopping them from putting the Niger Delta Development Commission under the latter’s ministry.

He also called on Malami and Akpabio to take steps to cause the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to appoint and inaugurate a substantive board for the NDDC without further delay.

Okaba spoke at an event to mark the 50th birthday of the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Ebikabowei Victor-Ben alias ‘General’ Boyloaf, and the official launch of the Boy Child Project by the Boyloaf Foundation in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

He said, “We implore the concerned ministers (Malami and Akpabio) to obey the directive of the court and other legal pronouncements, and also impress it upon the President to immediately put a substantive board in place for the NDDC.

“The illegality is not helping the interventionist agency created to tackle developmental challenges ravaging the region. Mr Akpabio, who was once quoted as saying that ‘the appointment of the sole administrator to man the NDDC was backed by court order’, should display the necessary integrity and due diligence to reverse his earlier action now that the same legal institution has ordered otherwise.”

The INC chief said it was disappointing that the president and his two ministers had not kept their promises to constitute a new board for the commission after the conclusion of the forensic audit and formal submission of the report.

According to him, the NDDC had been administered by interim management committees and sole administrators since 2015, contrary to the law establishing the interventionist agency.

Okaba said it was regrettable that the commission had been allegedly turned to the private estate of some persons, saying this was inimical to the peace and development of the region.

He added: “The NDDC is being run like the personal estate of a cabal to the detriment of the peace and development of the Niger Delta. This is not only provocative but also indecent. The INC has initiated legal procedures to challenge this naked rape of our collective destinies.

“Thankfully, the recent order of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa ordering the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to desist from subsuming the NDDC under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, is a welcome development.

“It is in the direction of discontinuing the hijacking of the commission by individuals for their selfish interest, unbridled personal aggrandizement and advancement of their political relevance.”

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