Expectations that the embattled former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, who was suspended over alleged graft sometime in May this year would return to the authority were dashed as President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that her appointment has already been terminated.
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Transport had on May 11, 2021 or thereabout announced the suspension of the former Managing Director over alleged N60billion graft in the award of channel management contract and appointed the former Executive Director of the agency in charge of Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko as the new MD on acting capacity.
The Ministry had also secured President Buhari’s approval to institute an 11-man probe committee to investigate activities of the NPA, especially the award of contracts including channel management and wreck removal among others, which led to speculations that she might return to her position after the probe, which is currently ongoing.
But the fate of the former MD was however sealed following an affidavit deposed to by one Agan Tabitha, a female and a civil servant of the Civil Litigation Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja in a suit at a Federal High Court, Lagos challenging the reappointment of the former MD for a second tenure when the first tenure had not ended in which President Buhari was joined as first defendant.
The substantive suit was filed by Elder Asu Beks, Tombra Abarowei and Miebi Senge as plaintiffs in which the President, Minister of Transport, Hadiza Bala Usman and Emmanuel Adesoye, chairman, Governing Board of the NPA, were listed as defendants.
In a Preliminary Objection filed against the substantive suit, counsel to the President, Mrs. Maimuna Lami Shiru and Mrs .C. I. Nebo, both of the civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja held that the plaintiffs’ suit is an academic exercise, lacked the locus standi to institute the matter and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
In the six-paragraph affidavit dated June 12, deposed to support this Preliminary Objection, Tabitha averred that as a Litigation Officer in the Civil Litigation Department of Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, she is conversant with the facts deposed in the affidavit and that she has the authority of her employer, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the consent of the first defendant, President Buhari.
She also said that the facts deposed herein are within her personal knowledge except as otherwise expressly stated and that she was informed by counsel to Buhari on June 6, 2021, in her office at about 2.00pm of the facts of the case, which she verily believes to be true and correct.
The facts include: That they have peruscd the processes filed by the plaintiffs in this suit, that the suit as constituted is academic, suit is challenging the reappointument/renewal of the 3rd defendant’s appointment as the MD of NPA and seeks an order declaring the reappointment/renewal void and of no effect.
Others are: That the alleged reappointment of the 3rd defendant (Hadiza Bala Usman) upon which the court is being callcd upon to adjudicate has since been terminated by the first defendant and the instant suit overtaken by the event of that termination.
The deponent, who cited a newspaper publication dated May 7, 2021, a copy of which she attached and marked as exhibit ‘A’, also held that the plaintiffs have no Locus Standi to institute the suit and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiffs’ suit as constituted.
Business & Transport