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NDDC Probe: Pondei-led Interim Management Committee Suspended

A division of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an order restraining the interim management  board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) headed by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei,  Cairo Ojougboh, and others from performing the duties of the committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

In suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a decision on an application by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, restrained them from strutting themselves as Board members of the NDDC.

Justice Mohammed in his ruling further allowed leave to the defendant to apply for legal audit requesting for mandamus convincing the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), to investigate the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the five individuals from the board over claims of N3 billion fraud.

His decision also granted a judicial review of the power of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Minister of the Niger Delta to appoint Prof Pondei, Dr Ojougboh and others in an interim capacity as members of the NDDC Board.

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, in order to prevent them from tampering with evidence which could be used by the ICPC in its probe.

By this issue 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 the 8th of December.

However, the applicant has expressed concern that despite the restraining order, the defendants are in total disobedience of it and have been invading their offices and performing the functions of the Board of the Commission since this order was granted.

Parties included in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Honourable Minister of the Niger Delta, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Dr Joi Nunieh, Mrs Caroline Nagbo, Cecilia Bukola Akintomide and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).