A community leader in Akwa Ibom State, Chief Samingo Etukakpan, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court over the composition of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Chief Etukakpan, who is the President of the Community Watch of Nigeria, said in the suit he filed at the Federal High Court Abuja and made available to newsmen on Monday, that the president violated the law establishing the NDDC with the recent appointments into the board of the development agency.
He therefore, asked the court in particular to annul the appointments and compel the president to name the board members in accordance with the establihsment Act of the NDDC.
Etukakpan asked the court to compel the president to appoint any qualified indigene of Delta State as Chairman of the Governing Board of the NDDC and a qualified indigene of Akwa Ibom State as Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the commission.
President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the Hoiuse of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Attorney-General of the Federation, the NDDC, Dr. Pius Odubu, Engr. Otobong Ndem, Maxwell Okoh and Dr. Agwagaga lelegima Enyia, were listed as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth respondents respectively.
Etukakpan prayed the court to issue an order of injunction restraining President Muhammadu Buhari from appointing any other person representing any state of the Niger Delta other than that from Delta State as Chairman of the Governing Board of the NDDC.
He also urged the court to nullify and set aside the appointment of Pius Odubu, Otobong Edem and Maxwell Okoh, representing Edo, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states respectively, as chairman, Executive Director, Project and Executive Director, Finance and Admin respectively, especially as they are not in conformity with the Act.
Some of the reliefs sought by Etukakpan included a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of the NDDC Act, particularly Sections 2,5, the appointment of Chairman of the Board of NDDC from Edo State by President Buhari was in violation of the law, especially as it was not done in alphabetical order as required by law.
Other reliefs include, “A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of the NDDC Act, the last chairman of the NDDC having come from Cross River State; it is proper, and the turn for a representative of Delta State to be nominated and appointed as the Chairman of the fifth respondent (NDDC) as provided for by the law.
“A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 5 & 12 of the NDDC Act 2010, it was the intendment of the drafters of the Act that the Executive Directorate Offices of the fifth respondents be rotational among members of the indigenes of oil producing areas with member states starting with the area with highest quantum o f production of oil in order of production.
“A declaration that by provisions of Sections 5 & 12 of the NDDC Act 2010, Akwa Ibom state not having been appointed to the office of Executive Directorate of Finance and Admin in the fifth respondent; should now be appointed to head the said Executive Directorate of Finance and Admin in the fifth respondent.
“A declaration that Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, being the second highest in quantum of oil production in Akwa Ibom State, and having not produced any person for the office of Executive Director of Finance and Admin in the fifth respondent in the NDDC; should produce an indigene to be appointed by the president as Executive Director of Finance and Admin in the NDDC.
“A declaration that Eket, being the area with the second highest in quantum of oil production in Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria has been unreasonably sidelined, neglected and denied by the first respondent in the appointment into the directorates of the fifth respondents since inception in violation of Section 4 and 12 of the NDDC Act 2010 and that the said sidelining, neglect and denial is wrongful and unjust and same should be set aside.”