23rd July, 2021
Hadiza Bala-Usman’s suspension as the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority has been converted into a termination by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation made the shocking revelation in a July 12 counter-affidavit .
The affidavit was filed as preliminary objection to a suit challenging Buhari’s powers to constitute the NPA Board and appoint its Executive Directors without recourse to the NPA Act.
The suit FHC/L/CS/485/2021, was brought against the President on 25 March by the Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Ltd, Asu Beks.
Tompra Abarowei and Miebi Senge joined him as plaintiffs.
The first to fourth defendants are Buhari, Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Hadiza Bala-Usman, and the Chairman NPA Board, Emmanuel Adesoye.
The plaintiffs averred that the president prematurely reappointed Hadiza Bala-Usman six months to the expiration of her tenure.
The six-paragraph affidavit was signed by Agan Tabitha of the Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, on behalf of the President’s counsel.
It stated: “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.”
“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 the board of the NPA as 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.”
Justice Tijjani Ringim adjourned proceedings in the suit till November 4.
Hadiza was first appointed as managing director of the NPA in 2016 by President Buhari.
But on 6 May, 2021, she was suspended from office over allegation of non-remittance of N44 billion into the treasury and administrative spending estimated at N88 billion Naira.
* Reported by The Nation