Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed the termination of the appointment of the embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
Buhari disclosed this on July 12 in an affidavit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in a suit brought against him by the Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Limited, Asu Beks, and two others.
In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/485/2021, the plaintiffs had filed a suit challenging the powers of Buhari to constitute the NPA Board and appoint the Executive Directors without recourse to the NPA Act, PUNCH reports.
They also claimed that Buhari prematurely reappointed Hadiza Bala-Usman six months to the expiration of her tenure.
The affidavit, which was filed as Buhari’s preliminary objection to the suit was signed by Agan Tabitha of the Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, on behalf of Buhari’s counsel.
Buhari argued that “the alleged reappointment of the third defendant (Hadiza Bala-Usman) upon which this court is being called upon to adjudicate, has since been terminated by the first defendant (Buhari) and the instant suit overtaken by the event of that termination.”
He also argued that the plaintiffs lack the locus standi to bring the case and the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Consequently, Buhari urged the court to dismiss the suit as it has become purely academic.
“We submit that it is clear from the Plaintiffs’ affidavit, the questions for determination as well as the reliefs sought. It is obvious that the Plaintiffs neither suffered any injury as a result of the act or omission of the 1st Defendant.
“It is also evident that the claim against the Defendants is that the court should declare the alleged action of the 1st Defendant re-appointing, nominating and setting up of board of NPA illegal as it contravenes sections 2 and 10 NPA Act Cap N126, LFN 2004, even without stating that they have suffered any personal damage beyond any other person as a result of the said appointment.
“It is our submission that the Plaintiffs here do not possess the requisite locus standi to institute this action. Locus standi denotes the right of a party to institute an action in a court of law,” he argued.
The plaintiffs in the suit are Asu Beks, Tompra Abarowei, and Miebi Senge as first to third plaintiffs respectively.
The first to fourth defendants are Buhari, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Hadiza Bala-Usman, and the Chairman NPA Board, Emmanuel Adesoye, respectively.
The matter is before Justice Tujjani Ringim of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.
SaharaReporters had reported how Bala-Usman lied to her superiors and sabotaged the plan by the Nigerian government to decongest Lagos ports by dredging the Calabar Port, among other such professional misconducts.
SaharaReporters learnt that Usman lied to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Senate about the recommendations of a committee she had set up to investigate the dredging project at the Calabar Port.
Her lies have cost Nigeria lives, billions of naira and jobs as Nigeria continues to rely on Lagos ports with its attendant congestion and other problems, it was also gathered.
For instance, widespread congestion at the Lagos ports costs Nigeria $55 million (about N20.8 billion) daily, according to a 2020 report by Dynanmar, a Dutch consultancy firm.
According to sources in the industry, Usman consistently lied to Osinbajo, Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on the Apapa gridlock, tasked with the job of decongesting the Lagos ports, that dredging the Calabar Port was not viable.
The project is under Calabar Channel Management, a joint venture operation between a consortium led by Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Following allegations that money was paid for dredging at Calabar Port with nothing to show for it, Usman set up a committee to investigate three allegations: One, that Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited did not follow due process in carrying out the job; two, that dredging Calabar Ports is not viable and must not be done; and three, that work was not done on the site by the company.
The report of the committee along with other documents sighted by SaharaReporters indeed prove that work had commenced at Calabar Port and that it was viable, but Usman ignored the report of the committee and insisted that the job must be stopped.