Ex-Bauchi Gov. Not Fit For NIMASA Job —Activists

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Two human rights activists and lawyers in Festus Keyamo Chambers, Oghenovo Otemu and Alexander Oketa have dragged the Nigerian Federal Government to court over the appointment of former Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu as the Board Chairman, Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

The two activists are seeking the reversal of Mu’azu’s appointment on the ground that a government white paper had banned him from holding public office for 10 years after he was indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry which investigated the management of some ministries and parastatals in Bauchi State while he was governor of the state.

Joined in the suit filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja are President Goodluck Jonathan, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Transport.

In their originating summons brought pursuant to section 6 and 9 of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2007, the two lawyers want the court to determine whether the appointment of Alhaji Mu’azu as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency by President Goodluck Jonathan is not null and void by virtue of the recommendations and the Bauchi State Government’s position which banned him from holding public office for a period of ten years.

The recommendation, according to the lawyers, is contained in a government white paper on the report of the judicial commission of inquiry into the management of some ministries, parastatals, and extra ministerial departments of the public service of Bauchi State from May 1999 to May 2007.

The two lawyers contended that while Mu’azu was the governor of Bauchi State, several financial and administrative misconducts were discovered leading to the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Inquire to investigate and make recommendation to the government of Bauchi State.

They further contended that based on the inquiry and recommendation of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, the Government of Bauchi State then came up with a White Paper Gazetted and published on 12 November 2009 banning Mu’azu from holding public office for a period of ten years.

Based on this fact, they want the court to determine whether the government white paper on the report is not a valid and binding document on all authorities and persons in Nigeria, including the defendants, until set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.

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In determining the issues raised, the lawyers want the court to hold that the government white paper on the report of the judicial commission of inquiry into the Management of some ministries, parastatals, extra ministerial departments of the public service of Bauchi State from May 1999 to May 2007 is a valid and binding document on all authorities and persons in Nigeria, until set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.

They also want a declaration by the court that by virtue of the recommendations and the Bauchi State government’s position which banned the former governor from holding public office for a period of ten years, he, Mu’azu cannot be appointed into any public office until 2019.

Consequently the lawyers want the court to declare that the appointment of Mu’azu as Board Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency by President Jonathan is null and void.

The case has been assigned to Justice Adamu Bello but none of the defendants have filed any defence or counter claim to the suit.

No date has been fixed for hearing on the matter.

—Henry Ojelu

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