A Federal High Court in Abuja has warned President Muhammadu Buhari; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the Senate of the National Assembly; Mrs. Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku on the consequences of flouting an earlier restraining order.
In a notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court dated December 23, 2022, the court gave a warning to President Buhari, Lawan, Onochie and others.
‘’Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” the notice read.
The court also stopped President Buhari from swearing in Ms Onochie and Ogbuku.
The duo were last week screened and confirmed as respective chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The court had earlier granted an order stopping the National Assembly from screening and confirming the nomination of Onochie and Ogbuku.
The presiding judge, Justice J. K. Omotosho, instructed that all actions on the matter be suspended pending the determination of the suit.
Among other things, the originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2294/2022 is seeking a restraining order on the National Assembly from screening and confirming the duo.
The plaintiffs, Chief Edward Ekpokpo Esq., and Victor Wood who are both representing the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought and Mr Edward Omagbemi who is presenting Omadino Unity Forum all on behalf of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality are challenging the nomination on the grounds that it is the turn of the Itsekiri nationality to occupy the positions.
The first to sixth defendants in the suit are President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the House of Senate, Mrs Lauretta Onochie and Chief Samuel Ogbuku.
The suit filed by Ama Etuwewe SAN & Co., demands that the provisions of the NDDC Act should be followed in the process.
It maintained that it is the turn of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality to produce the NDDC board chairman and MD as arguably the biggest oil-producing community in Delta State.
Adjourning the matter to January 11, 2023, for further hearing, the presiding judge, Justice J. K. Omotosho, upon reading the affidavit and hearing the counsel to the plaintiff, declared
“That leave is hereby granted to the plaintiffs to serve the 5th and 6th defendants with the originating processes in this suit by substituted means to wit by advertising the processes in at least one national newspaper circulating within the jurisdiction of this to court and to deem the same as proper service.
“That an order is hereby made that no party in this suit shall take any step or act or action that may make the outcome of the pending motion on notice for injunction Dated and filed December 12, 2022, nugatory.
“That any act or step or action taken in this order to make the outcome of the said motion on notice dated and filed December 12, 2022, nugatory shall be a nullity.”
Despite the court order, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Onochie and Ogbuku as NDDC chairman and MD respectively.