The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, alongside the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a lawsuit by two Niger Delta activists, demanding for the sack of Interim Management Committee, IMC.
The lawsuit filed by Comrade Akhareme Lucky, Comrade Edward Brisibe alongside two others in a motion on notice, sought for the court to sack the IMC, who are 4th-8th defendants in the suit.
The suit also prayed the court to restrain Senator Akpabio who is a 2nd defendant from recognizing the IMC, pending the hearing of a substantive suit questioning the legality of the IMC in accordance with the NDDC act which is also before the same court.
On it’s part, the IMC is questioning the indigenous status of the plaintiffs, both of whom have responded backing themselves with their constitutional obligations to uphold the rule of Law.
Counsel to the NDDC, its IMC members and Chief Akpabio, Alex Ejesieme SAN and Isyaku Saleh in their respective preliminary objections, stated that the plaintiffs lack the locus standi to institute and maintain the suit adding that the court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Presenting his issues for determination, the IMC described the suit by the plaintiffs as an invitation to trample on the sacred principle of separation of power adding that the suit is simply targeted at the court to usurp the executive powers of President Mohammed Buhari to appoint an interim management board.
He said: “We therefore urge your lordships to completely discountenance the plaintiff’s faux pascontention in this regard and resolve the lone issue for determination in favour of the defendant and against the plaintiffs. We urge your lordship to reject that invitation and accordingly dismiss this suit.”
Akpabio on his part through his counsel, described the case of the plaintiffs as hypothetical, speculative and academic, adding that “they lack the locus standi to maintain the suit for failing to demonstrate any direct legal benefit to them and urged the court to so hold and resolve this preliminary objection in favour of the 2nd defendant.”
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the case to July 22 for further hearing upon the presentation of reply on points of law presented by counsel to Akpabio.