BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
It has come to light that that the decommissioning of BUA Terminal at the Rivers Port by the erstwhile Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman may have been driven by mere display of executive rascality, as the action has been described as a clear violation of the lease agreement.
Above revelation is coming on the heels of Usman’s recent controversial book “Stepping On Toes” written to highlight her experiences at the authority as a horse gallop victim through supposedly corrupt ministerial interferences.
A former General Manager in the authority who made the clarification in a classified document sighted by our reporter said he was obliged to speak out after reading Usman’s book which he said contained inaccuracies, misinformation and falsehoods, noting that BUA Group is one of the respected, leading industry with proven positive contributions to the nation’s GDP. He lamented that Usman threw caution to the wind in her action, even as he disclosed that the closing of BUA Terminal was also in contempt of court ruling; leading to overall embarrassment for the federal government, huge revenue losses and earnings.
The former employee who refused to give his name for fear of persecution said Usman merely set out to embarrass BUA in a calculated plot to give the group’s competitor, to whom the former NPA boss defers a shameless edge.
According to the anonymous writer, “BUA group is one of the leading employers of labour. Circumstances that led to the decommissioning of its terminal at the Rivers Port is in Violation of the lease agreement. In continuation of the larger than life altitude of Hadiza, her action in disobeying court order on BUA Terminal, did not only result to an embarrassment to the Federal Government, but also created a potential revenue loss of about $10m and loss of earnings about N555m.”
He dismissed Usman’s excuse that the action was justified, and expressed dismay that she demonstrated high disregard for judicial pronouncements, noting that no other CEO of the authority violated court orders with glee like she did.
“It is gratifying to note that the former Managing Director has admitted flouting the order of injunction by stating that she ordered the decommissioning of the Terminal but only adduced reasons for the disobedience of the order.
“No justifiable reason can be given or sufficient to disobey the order of the court. Court orders are meant to be obeyed even if inconvenient. Even, the reasons given is at best tenuous, ludicrous and untenable in that contrary to the assertion of the former Managing Director of NPA that BUA Ports and Terminal wrote a letter to it complaining about the safety of the Terminal to lives and properties, it failed to state that the letter was pursuant to Article 8.4 of the Lease Agreement which enjoins BUA Ports and Terminal Limited to report any environmental and safety emergencies to NPA.
“Sequel to this, the purport and essence of BUA’s letter was to seek approval to effect remedial work as envisaged and clearly stated in the Agreement.”
The former GM added however that owing to conceit, she mischievously exploited the correspondence to achieve own misguided agenda.
“The former Managing Director of NPA deliberately and mischievously ignored the essence of the request of BUA (i.e approval for remedial works) rather she celebrated the safety concerns that BUA raised – which is line with the BUA’s obligation under the Lease Agreement to inform the NPA of any such issues before taking remedial action – Article 8.4 of the Lease Agreement).
“What the former Managing Director of NPA also failed to acknowledge, was that it requested for guarantees and an indemnity before BUA could carry out any activities. BUA provided the required indemnity and the Terminal was reopened and was in operation for just three (3) weeks before she (former Managing Director of NPA) magisterially, verbally ordered the closure of the Terminal.
“It is gratifying to note that NPA claims emphasis on the rule of law but it consistently flouted almost every provisions of the contract including but not limited to dredging, respect for court orders and arbitrary process. It is on record that NPA has not complied with most of its obligations under the Lease Agreement.”
The statement continues: “On the argument of the former Managing Director that there is no justifiable claim of revenue loss caused by the violation of the order of court, it is view laughable, as it is a notorious fact that BUA Terminal was effectively sealed up for about one (1) year, yet the former Managing Director claims that there is no revenue loss.
“One wonders how both Federal Government and BUA Terminals would have made any revenue during the closure/decommissioning of the Terminal.”
He made more damning revelations that exposed the inner kernel of the former NPA empress, who he accused of being self centred, unyielding to superior supervision, bypassing higher orders and protocol, and allegedly with a crude and rude work culture that led to the suffocation of efficient organisational communication for her entire five years stint.
The revelation also indicated how Usman allegedly shared the authority’s Channel Management contracts amongst cronies.