A human rights group, Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (CHURAC) has sued the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, speaker of the state house of Assembly, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Michael Diden, over breach of the laws establishing the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, (DESOPADEC) in areas of appointment of the board chairman.

In a suit marked W/154/2019, the state governor, attorney-general and commissioner for justice, speaker of the state house of assembly and Michael Diden are the first, second, third and fourth defendants while the registered trustees of CHURAC is the claimant.

The claimant through its counsel, J.P. Oromoni Esq, in originating summons prayed the court to determine the following reliefs: "Whether by virtue of the community reading of the provisions of Section 7(1) a, b & c and (2) a & b of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission Law, 2015 (as amended in 2019) the first defendant can validly appoint the fourth defendant, Michael Diden, as chairman from Itsekiri ethnic nationality into the governing board of the commission having earlier appointed one Godwin Ebosa as chairman in the governing board of the commission from the same Itsekiri ethnic nationality in 2015.

"Whether by the provisions of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission Law, 2015 (as amended in 2019) the 1st defendant, the Governor can nominate any person for appointment into the governing board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) whose ethnic nationality produces the immediate past member of that board.

"Whether by the laws establishing the commission qualified the 4th defendant to be appointed as chairman of the governing board of commission whose ethnic nationality has produced the last chairman and whether an ethnic nationality who has produced or is producing either the chairman, the managing director or the executive directors can succeed itself without following the rotational circle as provided in the law."

The human rights group, therefore, prayed the court among others, a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of DESOPADEC law 2015 as amended in 2019, the first defendant who appointed one Godwin Ebosa representing the Itsekiri ethnic nationality as chairman in the governing board of the commission could not validly appoint the fourth defendant who is also from the Itsekiri ethnic nationality as chairman in the board.

The group said further: "A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of the commission, the first defendant cannot nominate for appointment of any person as a member of the governing board of the commission whose ethnic nationality produced the immediate past board member of the same office,  the fourth defendant is not qualified to be appointed as chairman of the commission whose ethnic nationality has produced the immediate past chairman.

"A perpetual injunction compelling the 1st defendant to withdraw the appointment of the fourth defendant forthwith who is not qualified to hold office as Chairman of the governing board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) whose ethnic nationality has produced the immediate past chairman.

"An order of court nullifying the purported confirmation of the 4th defendant by the 3rd defendant as chairman in the governing Board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission Law (DESOPADEC), restraining the third defendant from acting in the capacity of the chairman of the governing board of the Commission or whatsoever subject to the provisions of the law relating to the rotational circle as provided in the law.

"An order of court compelling the 1st defendant to comply with the provisions of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission Law, 2015 (as amended in 2019) in constituting the new governing board members of the Commission and for such further order(s) that the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances."

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