Published On: Sun, Nov 19th, 2023

Human Right Lawyer Threatens To Drag DESOPADEC To Court  Over Removal Of HODS


LAGOS NOVEMBER 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)-A Warri-based human rights lawyer, Barrister Timothy Ifere has threatened to drag to court and request for a revert to status quo ante or write to the state House of Assembly to recommend the dissolution of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC over the recent appointment and removal of HODs in the Commission.

According to the human rights activist, the management of DESOPADEC acted on ignorance and abuse of power and abuse of due process in a flagrant disregard for civil service rules and regulations as it smacks of executive management recklessness or administrative ignorance.

As reactions continue to trail the removal of HODs in the Commission, a source said the Governor with all his sweeping powers does not appoint commissioners directly but must first send the list of commissioners designate to the state House of Assembly for screening and confirmation before the Governor is empowered to appoint the commissioners just as due process is adhered to in the appointment and dropping of HODs in the public service .

A retired civil servant, Mr David Okpudo started that policies or decisions taken by Board Resolurion can only be reverted or re validated by another Board Resolution otherwise such would be thanks and void.

“The HODs that were dropped we’re appointed by the previous Board with a Board Resolution confirming their appointment , it’s only another Board Resolution that the HODs can be removed from office after a serious misconduct case has been established against them,” he argued.

The retired civil servant further reiterated that removal of HODs must be occasioned by an indictment which is handled first by a query letter and a response to the query letter from the indicted HOD, and if the offense is serious misconduct, a disciplinary Committee is constituted to address the issues and make recommendations to the management who in turn forward to the Board for ratification.

The procedure is to prevent arbitrariness and according to him, from his own investigations, the HODs we’re not given fair hearing before their removal.

According to him, “In dropping of the HODs,  the executive management accused the HODs and acted as the judge in the case without observing basic legal principles. A complain ought to emanate from the immediate boss of any of the HODs which should be addressed by a disciplinary committee and acted on by the Board to avoid a case of Nermo Judex in Causa Sua, being a judge in your case, and by giving room for a third party to address the issues, you observe the principle of Hudi Alteran Partem. I understand their Chairman is a lawyer, I will put him in the Dock, and cross -examine him on the above principles .

“Once in court, I will ask for the reversion to status quo ante helium, when I am through with the case the Governor may have to dissolve the Board for bringing embarrassment to him.”

According  to the legal luminary, the Board will be running the commission like a private enterprise if the legal principles are not allowed to determine their actions, in such a way that any Board member will just say I don’t like the face of this HOD and direct that he should be dropped.

When asked if he was speaking as a lawyer for the HODs, he said, no, not at all, “I’m a stakeholder, having come from an oil producing community, the staff there are our siblings, they should be protected and what has happened is a case of injustice which must be redressed.

”I’m acting as a human rights advocate and a stakeholder. I perceive vindictiveness, vendetta and arbitrariness   which  should be discouraged in public service.”.

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