Same Abuja court restores Pondei to NDDC


* We did not sack the IMC, we hereby cancel the injunction granted the litigant

* But, Pondei may not climb back to seat

The same Federal High Court in Abuja that removed the Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee 9IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has reinstated it.

In a ruling today, January 21, 2021, the court said it did not sack the IMC but merely granted the litigant leave to sue.

In a judgment that struck out the lawsuit against the IMC by the Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Governance on January 13, 2021, the court denied ever sacking the Pondei-led IMC.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 12, 2020 directed the NDDC IMC to step aside for an interim sole administrator to take over the affairs of the interventionist agency on the strength of the purported court injunction against the Pondei-led IMC.

However, the Court reiterated that the NDDC IMC was never dismissed, stressing thus: “That there was no order for interim injunction (against the IMC) granted by this court”.


The court also ordered in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/617/2020 that two journalists from some two media houses (0ne electronic and one newspaper) to undo the misleading news story, and tell the world the truth of its ruling.


According to the court papers sighted by newsmen, the court was clear that the leave sought by the plaintiffs did not amount to an injunction but a permission to sue which was allowed but now stands struck out by subsequent findings of the court in January, 2021.


It is not clear whether Pondei-led IMC of NDDC will be reinstated by President Buhari since the president was earlier advised by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to sack the interim managers.


However, while some sources hinted that the Presidency might be working to act on the latest judgment of the court since it has been entered into the records, other sources said the same Attorney-General that advised the president would need to advise again before anything would happen.


Another camp source said the Pondei IMC was to expire on December 31, 2020, except extension of term was given by President Buhari, and now that the term has expired, it may complicate issues.


A substantive board is expected in April when the present Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa’s term is expected to conclude with the Forensic Audit. What is not clear is whether it is the screened board waiting to come in or another set that would take over in April 2021.