*** Give 14- Day Ultimatum to Akpabio to Reverse Action, Threaten to go to Court
By Henry Umoru
STRONG indication have emerged that crisis looms following the transfer of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC from the Presidency to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as Lawyers and a group under the aegis of Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative have kicked against the action.
Subsequently, the lawyers and the group have written a letter of protest to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to as a matter of urgency, carry out a holistic investigation into why the decision to change it from its former status to the present.
According to them, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio wrote to the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari which was approved.
In a letter to Malami, signed by Tolu Babaleye on behalf of the group, Akpabio has been given a 14- Day Ultimatum to Reverse the action and failure to do that, they will not hesitate to approach the court for redress.
In the letter dated 10th October and entitled, ” Illegal Transfer of Niger Delta Development Commission from Presidency to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs- Demand for Immediate Reversal, the group expressed displeasure and sadness over the recent illegal and what it described as unlawful action taken by the duo of Akpabio and Abba Kyari.
The group warned that if not checked, might lay a bad precedent in the country, adding that hence it became imperative to bring the action to the notice and knowledge of the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and Justice Ministry to unearth the underlying factor which necessitated such action.
The letter read, “We are the Solicitors to Accountable Leadership for Better Nigeria Initiative of No. 9A Nnewi Street, Area 2, Garki –Abuja and Act Initiatives of Suite C10, PEB 04 Plaza, Plot 2027 Dalaba Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja (hereinafter freely referred to as our Clients) and it is on their instructions and behest that this letter is caused to be remitted to you.
“Our Clients are reputable Non-Governmental Organizations with commitment and passion for an orderly society and a better Nigeria where things are done by Leaders in accordance with the laid down legal standards to engender good governance for the betterment of the citizenry.
“Our Clients, as good governance watchdogs, wish to use this medium to express their displeasure and sadness over the recent illegal and unlawful action was taken by the duo of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio and the Chief of Staff to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari which if not checked might lay a bad precedent in the country and our Clients feel very strongly that this must be brought to the notice and knowledge of the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and Justice Ministry to unearth the underlying factor necessitating such action.
“Your Honourable Sir, via a letter dated 2nd September 2019 with Reference No. SH/COS/81/A/1900 signed by Mr. Abba Kyari and addressed to Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs which is under the supervision of Senator Goodwill Akpabio, the former granted the request of the latter by transferring and purportedly delegating the management and control of the Niger Delta Development Commission to the Ministry under Senator Goodwill Akpabio without consultation with the relevant stakeholders; which action is against the Law of the land as the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is by virtue of Section 7 of the Niger Delta Development Commission Act charged with the sole responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the Commission and same is not delegate-able to any person or body. The principle is delegatus non- potest delegare. (Copy attached.)
“Our Clients are left in awe as to the rationale behind the actions of Messirs Kyari and Akpabio and the pecuniary gains they intend to get in brazenly circumventing the Law. As stakeholders in the Nigeria project, our Clients are greatly concerned and profoundly worried about this patently illegal and unlawful act being perpetrated by men on whom President Muhammadu Buhari rely to help him drive his administration mantra which is based on Next-level goal and good governance. This is disheartening and disconcerting, to say the least. Our Clients are of the strong opinion that this ugly development must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet, hence this letter of petition to your exalted office for reversal of this infraction of our Constitution and NDDC Act.
“In the light of the foregoing, our Clients hereby unequivocally demand immediate reversal of the action of Messirs Kyari and Akpabio and restore the Niger Delta Development Commission to its appropriate and original statutory domain as an autonomous Commission which is the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the interest of the Nigerian public, public probity and good governance.
“We on behalf of our Client believe that your exalted office should be able to work on the reversal and achieve it within 14 days of service of this letter on you including the date of service.
“We shall take to our Client’s outstanding instructions of taking the matter to court at the expiration of the time stated above if the matter is not resolved to the knowledge of Nigerians.
“While waiting for feedback from your exalted office on this petition, please accept the esteem of our due professional regards and warmest compliments of our Clients.”