The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has said it only granted leave to the applicants to commence legal actions against the interim management board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
This is contrary to speculation in some quarters that court gave an order sacking the Prof. Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The clarification is contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, adding that the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, only granted leave to the applicants to commence legal actions against the IMC of the NDDC.
It would be recalled that the IMC of the NDDC had been a subject of media coverage over the past few months, especially with regards to an alleged order of Justice A. R. Muhammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja suspending or disbanding the committee.
However, according to the statement, the case was struck out on Jan. 13, 2021 and the judge never made any order suspending or disbanding the IMC.
It explained that rather, what the judge did which was misrepresented in the press was to grant leave (permission) to the plaintiff to file a case for mandamus against the defendants, praying for the orders which the plaintiff attached to the motion for leave as required by law.
This, it said was especially because at that stage, the court could not have granted those orders yet since all the plaintiff prayed for was only leave to file for mandamus and not for the grant of those orders.
It added that in the proceedings of Dec.8, 2020, the court requested to see the reporters who originated the story of the purported sack of the IMC and observed that the mischief originated from the lawyers to the plaintiff.
“They were consequently instructed to go and correct the impression created,” the statement said.
It said the plaintiff’s lawyer never appeared in the case after then until it was eventually struck out on Jan. 13 2021.
The statement wondered why the case was cited as a basis for the executive action by the presidency dissolving the IMC and appointing a sole administrator especially when the minister of Niger Delta is himself a lawyer and also a party in the case who ought to know that there was no such order made.
It however, expressed hope that the presidency would act on the latest judgement of the court and reinstate the Prof. Pondei-led IMC of the NDDC .