Court Restrains Onochie From Exercising Executive Powers In NDDC, Sacks 18 Aides

A Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State has restrained Lauretta Onochie, chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, from carrying out executive functions and the day-to-day running of the agency.

A copy of the judgment, signed by the Court Registrar, Anigboro Enonuya, on May 9 showed it was delivered by Justice Okon Abang.

In the judgment, Justice Abang, declared void all executive actions taken by Onochie since she assumed office on January 4, 2023.

Abang also nullified the appointment of 18 aides made by the NDDC board chairman.

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Following Onochie’s appointment, one Mike Oberabor instituted a suit against the NDDC, Onochie and Samuel Ogboku, NDDC’s managing director, seeking an interpretation of the NDDC act, 2000 and other relevant statutes and documents relating to the running of the commission.

Delivering judgment in the suit marked FHC/WR/CS/14/2023, the judge held that after due consideration of the relevant provisions of the NDDC Act, 2000 and other documents, it was established that Onochie’s appointment as the chairman of the board on a part-time basis is to oversee and preside over the meetings of the board.

Abang held that the managing director is “statutorily empowered by the NDDC act to perform and wield the executive functions, powers and day-to-day running and management of the commission to the exclusion of other members of the board of the NDDC including the 2nd defendant (Onochie) herein.”

Consequently, the judge ordered, “that all actions of the 2nd defendant including but not limited to the appointment of her personal aides carried out in the exercise of executive functions and powers in the Niger Delta Development Commission since her assumption of duty on the 4th day of January 2023 are ultra vires her powers and therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

“That the 2nd defendant is restrained from carrying out and/or exercising any executive function and powers in the NDDC.

“The 2nd defendant is further restrained from interfering with the 3rd defendant’s (Ogboku) executive functions, powers and day-to-day running and management of Niger Delta Development Commission the 1st defendant herein.”