A Niger Delta born environment and peace advocate, Chief Sheriff Mulade, has applauded the decision of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on the removal of the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Mulade on Monday, March 28, 2022, in Asaba, the Delta State Capital also lauded the court for stopping the Commission from being placed under any Ministry, including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, and to constitute the Board of NDDC to run the affairs of the Commission in line with enabling laws and the instrument establishing the Commission.
While hailing the Court decision, Mulade said a sole administrator running the affairs of NNDC was alien and a contravention of the enabling laws establishing the Commission.
He noted that the Act establishing NNDC only recognises an Interim Management Board or Committee, and not a sole administrator.
Speaking on the current operations of the sole administrator, headed and controlled by Mr Effiong Akwa, Chief Mulade alleged that the sole administrator’s office has been used by some government officials as an ATM to siphon funds for personal use rather than investing in and developing the region, in line with the primary aim of creating the NDDC.
He maintained that despite the billions of Naira allocated to the NDDC over the years for development purposes, the region still lacks basic amenities such as good road networks, health centres, clean and drinkable water, electricity supply, schools, connecting bridges and other infrastructure.
While expressing his bitterness over the alleged mismanagement of the Commission’s funds, he claimed that those funds were in the custody of a few individual politicians and their cronies who never meant well for the region.
“I strongly believe in President Muhammadu Buhari as one of the most citizen-oriented, listening and law-abiding presidents of Nigeria, which he displayed recently during the citizens’ yearning for electoral reforms, just being signed into law,” said Mulade.
While thanking the Judge for his landmark ruling, Chef Mulade urged all well-meaning Nigerians, especially those from the Niger Delta Region to support the Court’s decision and work for the growth and development of the Niger Delta States.
The Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State had on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, directed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice to stop placing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under any Ministry, including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The Court also granted a perpetual injunction restraining the AGF from further constituting an interim or a sole administrator-ship Board to run the affairs of the NDDC.
The orders were made following a motion exparte dated December 10th, 2021, and filed by Odighonin Adienbo on behalf of the Wailing Women of the Niger Delta (WWND) and the Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative (IFTPI).
Other applicants were Peace Ossy, Utibe Benedict, Beatrice Young, Juliana Alagoa, Lovett Timothy, Loveth Kekghe, Osaruchi Idumesaro, Modimu Beauty and Nkechi Umeozor.
In its judgment, the Court said that “leave is hereby granted to the applicant to seek an order of this Honourable Court directing the respondent to dissolve the current sole administrator-ship structure used to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),” and that the applicants were granted leave to seek an order of mandamus directing or compelling the respondent to immediately publish the outcome of the report of the forensic audit of the NDDC.
The Court also said that leave was granted to the applicant to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the respondent to account for all monies that have accrued to the NDDC from the inception of the Interim or acting management, beginning from. Prof. Nelson Brambaifa to date.
In conclusion, the Judge asked the parties to return to the Court on April 5 for the report of service, compliance and hearing.