A new twist has unfolded in the legal battle to stop the nomination and subsequent confirmation of Ms. Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku as Chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as three new parties have filed a joint motion to be part of the suit.
The new parties are Engr Parkinson Azagba representing Ndokwa West Oil and Gas Communities, in Ndokwa West Local government area of Delta state, Engr Edwin Agha, representing Ndokwa East Oil and Gas Communities in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State and Chinedu Ofulu representing Ndokwa/Ukwani Federal Constituency.
In the motion filed on the behalf of applicants by Evans Ufeli , the three parties stated that they are necessary and desirable parties without which the issues for determination in the suit cannot be adequately resolved, and without which justice cannot be done and be seen to be done.
They further contended that they are necessary parties who are an integral part of the oil producing area and the second largest producer of oil in Delta State with considerable prospect to head the NDDC as provided for by the NDDC Act.
When the matter came up before Justice Omotosho on January 11, 2023, counsel for the Itsekiri community Mr. Etuwewe SAN, informed the court of his new application to set aside the National Assembly’s confirmation of Ms LOnochie as the substantive Chairman of the NDDC.
The court however said it wants to hear the motion for joinder first filed by the People of Ndokwa/Ukwani region of Delta State, represented by Mr Ufeli
Etuwewe SAN objected, adding that they have just been served the motion for joinder some days ago and same is not ripe for hearing and should not be heard. The court insisted it must hear the motion for Joinder.
However, the court asked Counsel for the people of Ndokwa, Mr Ufeli to amend the motion to be joined in the suit as a defendant and not a plaintiff, saying, it is better that way, so that the court would take all applications on the February 6, 2023.
The matter was thereby adjourned to the February 6, 2023 for hearing of all applications.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Mrs. Onochie to occupy the office of the chairman, NDDC, which led to public outcry and widespread criticisms .
Stakeholders also criticised the said appointment and an action was filed at the Federal High Court Abuja by the Itsekiri community in Delta state, seeking an order of the court to restraining the National Assembly from confirming the appointment of Mrs Laurretta.
The court granted the motion,restraining the National Assembly from confirming the appointment but the federal lawmakers went ahead to confirmed Ms Onochie and Ogbuku ‘s appointment in clear disregard for the court’s pronouncement