NDDC: Court Orders Suspension Of Onochie’s Confirmation By Senate


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has given an order stopping the Senate from further processing the confirmation of Ms Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku as chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) pending the determination of a suit before it.

The suit filed by Ama Etuwewe SAN & Co., on behalf of the plaintiffs, wants specific provisions of the NDDC Act to be followed in the process of the confirmation of the nomination into the position of Chairman and Managing Director of the NDDC.

Accordingly, the Court presided over by Justice J. K. Omotosho, directed that all actions on the matter be suspended pending the determination of the suit filed by the representatives of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT), Edward Ekpokpo Esq., Victor Wood and Edward Omagbemi (representing Omadino Unity Forum) on behalf of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality.

The plaintiffs are challenging the nomination of Onochie and Ogbuku as Chairman and Managing Director respectively of the NDDC Board.

The suit which has President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Senate, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respondents also has Ms. Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku as 5th and 6th defendants.

In the suit with file number FHC/ABJ/CS/2294/2022 was instituted to among others, restrain the National Assembly from screening and confirming Onochie and Ogbuku as Chairman and Managing Director of the NDDC.

In the suit, the Itsekiri ethnic nationality averred that “being the highest oil producing community in Delta state,” it should produce the NDDC Board chairman and Managing Director.

In his ruling on the matter, Justice Omotosho, after going through the affidavits of claim by the plaintiffs, directed them to serve the 5th (Onochie) and 6th (Ogbuku) defendants with the originating processes in the suit by substituted service by advertising the processes in at least one national newspaper circulating within the jurisdiction of the to court and to deem same as proper service.

Justice Omotosho further directed; “That an order is hereby made that no party in this suit shall take any step or act or action that may make the outcome of the pending motion on notice for injunction dated and filed on 12th December 2022, nugatory.

“That any act or step or action taken in this order to make the outcome of the said motion on notice dated and filed 12th December, 2022 nugatory shall be a nullity,” the Court directed.

Justice Omotosho however refused granting the reliefs for an interim injunction and adjourned the matter to January 11, 2023 for further hearing.

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