By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA—THE absence of counsel to Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, yesterday, stalled hearing in the suit seeking to stop the Sole Administrator of the commission from presiding over the affairs of the commission, as well as stop its placement under any ministry.
Niger Delta groups identified as Wailing Women of the Niger Delta represented by its Coordinator, Odighonin Adienbo, Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative, TIFPI, led by Livingstone Wechie and nine others had filed the suit at a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, against the Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, challenging the use of sole administration in running the NDDC.
Trial judge in the matter is Justice Isa Dashen.
The plaintiffs contend that the concept of sole administrator was alien and contrary to the NDDC Act, which provides for a board constituted of representatives of all states of the Niger Delta.
When the case was mentioned, Samuel Brisibe, told the court that he was mandated by counsel to NDDC in the suit, Ume Kalu, SAN, to inform the court of his absence following cancellation of his flight.
He further appealed to the court to adjourn the case to enable Kalu to personally argue the case as he was not abreast of the matter and was merely drafted to inform the court of the reasons behind Kalu’s absence in court.
However, counsel to the plaintiffs, Goodness Onuoha, frowned at the reason advanced by Brisibe, stressing that the counsel ought to have arrived Yenagoa on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s hearing date.
Onuoha urged the court to prevail on the defence to refrain from delaying the dispensation of justice.
Dashen adjourned the suit to June 28, 2023, for continuation of hearing.
Dashen had on April 5 granted an interim order restraining the Federal Government from using sole administrator to run the NDDC pending the determination of the pending suit.
The Niger Delta groups had challenged the legality of the appointment of a Sole Administrator/Interim Management Committee for the NDDC, which they claim is in defiance to the NDDC Act asking the court to invalidate same.