By Alex Enumah
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday granted an order restraining Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Mr. Cairo Ojougboh, and others from performing the functions of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling on an application by a Civil Society Organisation, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, restrained them from parading themselves as Board members of the NDDC.
Justice 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 to investigate the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the five members of the board over allegations of N3 billion contract fraud.
The court granted leave to the applicant to apply for judicial review of the powers of the President or the Minister of Niger Delta to appoint Prof. Pondei, Dr. Ojougboh, and others in an interim capacity as members of the NDDC board.
By this order of the court, the members of the NDDC Board are restrained from performing the functions of the board pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice which is fixed for December 8, 2020.
The plaintiff in the suit said it had notified President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and ICPC of the interim vacancy in the commission.
The plaintiff also urged that the most senior civil servant or administrator in the commission be appointed and prayed that the suspended officers are stopped from accessing the commission’s offices and files.
This, according to them, is to prevent them from tampering with evidence which could be used by the ICPC in its probe.
Parties joined in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Senate, Minister of the Niger Delta, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei and Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.
Others are Dr. Joi Nunieh, Mrs. Caroline Nagbo, Cecilia Bukola Akintomide and ICPC.