Lawyer Seeks Replacement of NDDC Committee Chair of over 15 years
An Abuja based lawyer, Francis Obalim has demanded the replacement of Niclas Mutu as Chairman House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The lawyer filed the Originating Summons through his Counsel, Barrister Johnmary Jideobi.
Mr Mutu who represents the Bomadi/Patani federal constituency, in Delta State has been a member of the House since 1999. He has also headed the committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission, since 2003.
The applicants in an ex-parte request brought before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday asked the court to restrain the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila from re-appointing Mr Mutu as chairman of the committee for the NDDC.
According to the applicants, Mr Mutu who has headed the NDDC committee in the house for over 15 years, since 2003 has constituted himself into a “disturbing influence” on the activities of the committee.
The applicants who described the continuous stay of Mr Mutu as head of the committee as “an act of corruption,” have asked the house to implement the requirements of section section 15 of the constitution to prevent the alleged corruption by ensuring that he does not return as Chairman of the committee.
The section quoted by the applicant states that, “the state shall abolish all corruption and abuse of power.”
Part of the arguments brought forward by the applicants include the following:
“That by virtue of the mandate and purpose of the Committee overseeing the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission, the 1st Defendant presides over the scrutiny and vetting of the annual budget of the NDDC for the past twelve (12) record years.
“That the continuous stay of the 1st Defendant as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC has constituted him into a special interest capable of eroding the capacity of the Commission to serve the interest of the public for which it was created.
“That the continuous presence of the 1st Defendant on the Committee of Niger Delta Development Commission as its Chairman has resulted in what is known every democracy as ‘regulatory capture’ which means: a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.
“That the continuous retention of the 1st Defendant year to year, back to back, for twelve years as the Chairman of the House Committee on NDCC carries the potency of hobbling the very essence and mandate of the Committee of the House.
“That the continuous retention of the 1st Defendant year to year, back to back, for twelve years as the Chairman of the House Committee on NDCC has the potency of leg-chaining the Commission and undermining its independence and capacity to deliver on its mandate thereby creating a revolving door of gargantuan corruption.
In a ruling on the ex-parte application, the Court gave the respondents 48 hours to show cause why the application should not be granted.
The Respondents to the motion are Mr Mutu, Mr Gbajabiamila and the clerk of the house.