Marginalization: Igbos sue Nigerian government over appointment of Funso Doherty as PENCOM DG

The South-East has dragged the Nigerian Government before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over the appointment of Mr. Funso Doherty as the Director-General of Pension Commission (PenCom).

The region is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, for failing to appoint a member from the zone as replacement to Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu as PENCOM DG.

The decision of the zone was contained in a suit filed before the court marked FHC/ABJ/CS/371/17, where it is contending that the replacement of the immediate past director general of PENCOM with another person outside the zone constitutes a breach of the oath of office of the President under Section 26 (1) of the 7th schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

The suit, which was filed by Giles C. Ugwunweze, the South-East Coalition for Justice and Equity (SECJE) and Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) is seeking an order of court directing the President (1st defendant), to appoint a director general for the National Pension Commission from the South-East geo-political zone in accordance with Section 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014.

The suit is further praying for an order setting aside the appointment of Aliyu Abdul Rahman Dikko and Aisha Dahir-Umar by the President.

The plaintiffs are further seeking for the determination of the question of construction of Sections 19(5)(a), 21 (1) (j) and 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 as amended and Section 171 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999.

“Whether in the replacement of the director-general of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), who is of South-East Origin, under Section 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 pursuant to Section 21 (j) and having regards to the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the 1st defendant is restricted to the geo-political zone of the immediate past director-general that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure?

“Whether having regard to Section 19 (5)(a) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, Dikko Abdulrahman, as the pioneer managing director and chairman, Board of Directors of Premium Pension Limited, a licensed Pension Fund Administrator, is not disqualified from holding of office as the director general of PENCOM?

“Whether having regard to Section 21 (2) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, the appointment of the 4th defendant to head the National Pension Commission in acting capacity is not contrary to the provisions of the Pension Reform Act and therefore illegal?

“If the answers to questions 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in the affirmative, whether the appointment of Abdulrahman and the appointment of Aisha Dahir-Umar are according to law and whether they constitute a breach of the Oath of Office of the 1st defendant under Section 26 (1) Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, which is the oath of office of the President?

“Whether upon a proper construction and interpretation of Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria possess the power to remove his appointees made pursuant to an Act of the National Assembly whose appointment and removal are not at the pleasure of the President and whose tenure of offices are statutory and do not cease with expiration of the tenure of office of the President?”

Already, hearing in the suit has been adjourned to October 23, 2017 as the court presided by Justice John Tsoho did not sit yesterday.

The plaintiffs were represented in court by Stephen Oluebube, F.I Nwodo, S.N Ezeora and Anthony Ojeh.

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