B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G: Buhari denies approving tenure extension for Hadiza
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
The sacked Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, may be in for more trouble as President Muhammadu Buhari has denied granting her tenure extension, despite the authority parading a State House statement to that effect in January 2021.
The denial which is coming on the heels of legal suit number FHC/L/CS/485/2021 by Elder Asu Beks and two others, challenging the premature appointment of the authority’s former boss by President Buhari, six months before the expiration of her due term; has taken a twist as the president says he had nothing to do with the controversial reappointment.
The denial coming from the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMJ) is contained in an affidavit by the FMJ on behalf of the president, which distanced him from the said reappointment; as the plaintiffs were challenged to tender documentary evidence of the letter of reappointment.
The said affidavit deposed to by one Agan Tabitha, a female civil servant in the Civil Litigation Department, Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja, on behalf of Maimuna Lami Shiru (Mrs.) and C. 1. Nebo (Mrs), counsel to President Buhari in the above suit at a Federal High Court Lagos, averred that there was no time President Buhari reappointed the embattled former helmsman of NPA.
She averred in her affidavit, a copy of which was made available to our report that the allegation by the plaintiffs to the effect that the president granted Hadiza Usman tenure extension is incorrect and speculative.
The affidavit reads: “a.I state that the depositions in the affidavit are false or at least are incorrectly stated and the true position is as stated hereunder.
- “The deposition of the plaintiffs that the Ist Defendant renewed the appointment/ reappointed the 3rd Defendant while her initial appointment as MD NPA was still running is false as no such reappointment or renewal was made by the Ist Defendant.”
Tabitha who entered the president’s counter affidavit in opposition to the plaintiffs’ suit deposed as follows:
“I, Agan Tabitha Female, Christian, Nigerian, Civil Servant of the Civil Litigation Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, do hereby make oath and state as follows that:
“1. That I am a Litigation Officer in the Civil Litigation Department of Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja by virtue of which I am conversant with the facts deposed in this counter-affidavit.
“2. That I have the authority and consent of the 1 Defendant to depose to this Counter Affidavit.
“3. That the facts deposed to herein are within my personal knowledge except as otherwise stated.
“4. That I was informed by Maimuna Lami Shiru (Mrs.) and C. 1. Nebo (Mrs), counsel to the 1st Defendant on the 6″ June, 2021, in her office at about 2.00pm of the following facts which I verily believe to be true and correct:
“That they have perused the processes filed by the Plaintiffs in this suit. a. That the Plaintiffs’ Affidavit in support of the Originating Summons and I state that the depositions in the affidavit are false or at least are incorrectly stated and the true position is as stated hereunder.
The despondent stated further: “d. it is also false that the board of NPA was constituted without an executive director and along Geopolitical zones contrary to the NPA Act. I state that the board of the NPA as constituted by the 1st Defendant is duly constituted in accordance with the provisions of the NPA Act. The Plaintiffs’ suit is purely speculative and an invitation to this Honourable Court to go fishing for evidence.
“e. The Plaintiffs in their affidavit made several allegations including the appointment and reappointment of the 3rd Defendant as MD NPA by the 1st Defendant, Constitution of Board of NPA along Geopolitical zones by the Ist Defendant, the date of appointment and reappointment of the 3rd Defendant, the profiles of the alleged members of the NPA Board as well as their Geopolitical zones etc, but didn’t attach any document, not even a newspaper publication to establish that any of these facts exists.
“f. Aside from the deposition in the plaintiffs’ affidavit, there is nothing placed before the court to show that the alleged reappointment/renewal, Constitution of the NPA Board were made or to lend credence to the Plaintiffs’ depositions on their alleged lack of experience or Geopolitical zones.
“h. The plaintiffs’ suit is speculative and should be dismissed by this honourable court.”
Agathan further averred that the plaintiffs failed to provide documentary evidence such as the letter of appointment to support his allegations.
“ My lord, it is our submission that it is not enough for the Plaintiffs to merely allege in their
Affidavit appointment and reappointment of the 3rd Defendant as MD NPA by the lst Defendant. Constitution of Board of NPA by Geopolitical zone by the 1st Defendant, the date
of appointment and reappointment of the 3rd Defendant, the profiles of the alleged members
of the NPA Board as well as their Geopolitical zones etc, but without attaching any documentary evidence to show that the reappointment/renewal was indeed made and the
board constituted in the manner alleged.
The substantive suit filed by Elder Asu Beks, Tombra Abarowei and Miebi Senge as plaintiffs had the President, Minister of Transport, Hadiza Bala Usman and Emmanuel Adesoye, chairman, Governing Board of the NPA, as defendants.