President Buhari dragged to court over tenure elongation of NDDC board

Seven residents of the Niger Delta have filed a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the tenure elongation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) governing board.

The case came up for hearing on Monday before Anwuli Chikere, a judge of the federal high court in Abuja.

The suit is seeking a clear interpretation of the NDDC act as it relates to tenure and rotation. Also joined in the suit were the minister of the Niger Delta affairs and NDDC.

The plaintiffs are Micah Akeems, Ziprebo Emomotimi, George Ufot Udoyara, Elliot Tibakeni, Unyeowaji Patterson Gabriel, Patrick Stephen, and Alphonsus James.

In the suit filed on December 15, 2017, via an originating summons, the plaintiffs sought an order to halt any attempt to retain Victor Ndoma-Egba, chairman, Nsima Ekere, managing director and other members of the commission.

They also sought an order of court compelling the president to appoint the managing director of NDDC from Bayelsa state in accordance with section 12 (1) of the NDDC act, 2000, which supports the principle of rotation of key offices of the commission.

The plaintiffs said, “It will be a mockery of the NDDC act, 2000 to disregard the said act and not to follow the rotational principle as envisaged and contemplated in the intent and spirit of the said act.”

In their suit filed on December 15, 2017, the plaintiffs posed the following questions among others for determination: whether the NDDC act is binding on all the defendants; whether the defendants can in line with the NDDC act appoint or reappoint the managing director, whose letter of appointment is only for one year term which will terminate in December 2017, or elongate the tenure outside the provision of section 3 of the act.”

Akeems said the tenure of the current managing director of NDDC ended in December 2017 in accordance with his letter of appointment.

The president and NDDC were, however, not represented. The court adjourned the matter till May 21 following an observation that NDDC was not properly served.

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