Human rights lawyer and activist, Oladimeji Felix Ekengba Esq has dismissed claims alleging that the lawsuit seeking to restrain unlawful interference of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission was politically motivated.
Ekengba in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos stated that: “the allegation by a faceless group branded Niger Delta Stakeholders is rather unfortunate, baseless and unpatriotic, to say the least.”
The allegations by a group that claimed to comprise of elders, youth groups and stakeholders in the Niger Delta were conveyed in statement issued by the Secretary General of the group, Chief Anthony Loveday. The group accused the Interim Administrator of NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa of masterminding the lawsuit with the intent of prolonging the tenure of the interim management of the NDDC.
However, the lawyer, Oladimeji Felix Ekengba Esq who initiated the lawsuit dismissed the allegation as hasty and unfounded. Mr. Ekengba insisted that the lawsuit was initiated against the backdrop of demonstrated interference in the management of NDDC contrary to the Act establishing the Commission. Mr. Ekengba wondered how the Interim Administrator could benefit from a suit that has no bearing on his tenure and also considering the fact that the ultimate goal of seeking court pronouncement is demonstrate that a statutory governing board in line with the provisions of NDDC is the only panacea to the penchant for interference by high placed individual in flagrant violation of rule of law as currently being witnessed.
According to Mr. Ekengba, “Nigerians particularly Niger Deltans are aware of the agitation for the constitution of a substantive board for the NDDC, one which has been relentless since 2019. It is however shocking that a group of persons would sit down and concoct such lies to serve their selfish interest.”
Ekengba maintained that the lawsuit had no political undertone save for the interest of the Niger Delta region whose people have been shortchanged in reaping the dividends of having the interventionist agency.
“As a person I do not even know the Interim Administrator of NDDC and I do not even want to know him. So it becomes laughable to see a faceless group coming up with such fish stories”, Mr. Ekengba asserted. According to him, “one would have expected any group supposedly defending the interest of Niger Deltans to at least peruse the court papers before jumping into this wild goose chase”.
He cautioned that “that the matter is already in court and as a matter of principle, no one not even myself can delve into addressing the substance of the case”.
Ekengba therefore called on all well-meaning sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region to remain steadfast in the quest for legally requesting for the constitution of a substantive board for the NDDC as required by law.
In his words, “I believe Mr. President and even the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are all creations of law and such, the law must be obeyed.” Therefore, “there is no need for such unfounded assertions. Let’s allow the law to take its course”, he concluded.