The former Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman may have been sacked, even as her probed via a panel constituted by Federal Ministry of Transportation, continues.
President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed Hadiza’s sack via a July 12th affidavit he submitted to the Federal High Court in Lagos, in response to a suit instituted against him by a maritime media Chief Executive, Elder Asu Beks
A Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Limited and Publishers of Shipping World Magazine, Asu Beks, alongside two others: Mr Tompra Abarowei and Mr Miebi Senge had on March 25, 2021 filed a suit challenging the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari to unlawfully constituting the board of the NPA, as well as appointment its Executive Directors without recourse to the statutory provisions of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act.
Elder Beks in suit number FHC/L/CS/485/2021, filed by Asu Beks through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN) also joined Hadiza Bala Usman, saying that Buhari prematurely reappointed, six clear months before her tenure expires, in ways that infringes on professionalism.
However, in President Buhari’s response and affidavit filed as preliminary objection, and signed by Agan Tabitha, Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja on behalf of Buhari’s Counsel; Mrs Maimuna Lami Shiru and Mrs C.I Nebo: the President made following submission, amongst others:
*That ASU Beks lacks the ‘locus standi’ to institute the action, since by the appointment, the Plaintiffs did not suffer any loss, more than any other Nigerians
*That the suit was purely academic; and
*That President Buhari as first Defendant has sacked Hadiza, being the 3rd Defendant; and thus, the basis for the action was already eliminated.
“The alleged reappointment of the 3rd Defendant (Hadiza Bala Usman) upon which this Court is being called upon to adjudicate has since been terminated by the 1st Defendant (Buhari) and the instant suit overtaken by the event of that termination”
“We submit that it is clear from the Plaintiff‘s affidavit, the questions for determination as well as the reliefs sought. it is obvious that the Plaintiff 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 section 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”
“My Lord. it is our submission that the Plaintiffs here does not possess the requisite locus standi to institute this action. Locus sandi denotes the right of a party to institute an action in a court of law”, the affidavit further revealed.
Obviously, from the affidavit, any hope or prayers for the restoration of the former Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman may have now been voided and therefore, of no effect.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in May, 2021 approved the suspension of Hadiza and endorsed NPA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello-Koko as successor, in Acting capacity.
A panel was subsequently set up, to scrutinize the account of her stewardship, following allegations of inappropriate (mis)management of over N160bn
It would also be recalled that the plaintiffs Specifically noted that the NPA newly constituted Board had no Representative of the Ministry of Transportation as enshrined in the statues of the NPA Act.
The suit was being heard before Justice Tujjani Garba Ringim of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi when Hadiza was sacked.
Efforts to reach Ms Hadiza Bala Usman for desired response was futile.