From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Activist group Alliance for Growth and Development (AGD) has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Rivers State High Court for unilaterally usurping the place of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) without an order of court to receive proceeds and funds due to the commission from the Oil-producing and Gas Processing Companies Operating Onshore and Offshore in the Niger Delta pursuant to Section 14 (2) of the NDDC Act.
The group’s claim is that the EFCC is now taking custody of all allocations and proceeds meant for the NDDC, including the statutory three per cent contributions to the commission from oil companies.
Also, the AGD alleged that EFCC negotiates payment of contractors of the NDDC by certain percentage ranging from 20 per cent and above, and they are doing same with some other parastatals.
The activists claimed that NDDC contractors have been cowed and made to go through this and the anti-graft agency is illegally running the finances of the NDDC, thereby putting the contractors into loan crisis, adding that the illegal activities are affecting the development of the Niger Delta region.
The group stated that the EFCC allegedly take a lump of the allocation shared among themselves and some forces, thereby compromising the NDDC and the contractors.
The suit was filed by Kegan Weli and Ameh Tobin for themselves and representing members of Alliance for Growth and Development against EFCC at the Rivers State High Court in Suit No. PHC/2048/CS/2022.
Among the prayers of AGD include a declaration of the court that the NDDC is a statutory body not under the EFCC and an order that the EFCC cannot usurp the duties and rights of the NDDC under any guise without a court order to receive any statutory funds meant for the NDDC.
Also, the applicants want the court to declare such acts by EFCC illegal, null and void ab initio.
It further seeks an injunctive order restraining the EFCC from receiving the money meant for the NDDC pursuant to the NDDC Act accruing from the oil multinationals and a further order compelling the EFCC to return, remit and account for all the monies collected or received on behalf of the NDDC from the oil multinationals operating in the Niger Delta in the past six months and return same forthwith to the NDDC account.