Some maritime stakeholders and experts have taken President Muhammadu Buhari to court for reappointing Hadiza Bala Usman as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority for another five years.
Buhari had on January 21, 2021, through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, announced the reappointment of Usman as NPA MD for another five years, six months before the expiration of her initial five-year tenure.
The stakeholders argued that the President’s action was in contravention of the statutory provisions of the NPA Act and the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They also stated that Usman’s premature tenure elongation would set a fertile ground for litigation, as the action was illegal, wrongful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
SaharaReporters obtained the court documents of the originating summons, between Elder Asu Beks, Mr Tompra Abarowei, and Mr Miebi Senge as the Plaintiffs, and the President, the Minister of Transport, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, and Mr Emmanuell Adesoye, as the defendants.
The plaintiffs held that the newly constituted Board of NPA has no Representative of the Ministry of Transportation as enshrined in the statutes of the NPA Act.
In the suit filed on Thursday, March 25, 2021, the group led by Elder Asu Beks, CEO, Maritime Media Limited, is challenging the powers of President Buhari to “lawfully and prematurely reappoint Usman to her position as Managing Director of the NPA, six clear months before her tenure expires.”
The suit marked with the number FHC/L/CS/485/2021, was instituted on behalf of the group by Chief Mike A.A. Ozekhome chambers.
The group has therefore put forward the following questions for determination:
“Whether the 1st defendant in the discharge of his statutory duties has the vires under Section 2 and 10 of the NPA Act to lawfully and prematurely re-appoint the 3rd defendant to her position as the Managing Director of the NPA six clear months before the expiration of her existing tenure of office.
“Whether the acts of the 1st defendant in the appointment and composition of the NPA Board are not illegal, wrongful, unlawful, unconscionable, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.
“Consequently, the group is seeking the following reliefs from the court; one, a declaration that the act of the 1st defendant in purporting to re-appoint and/or extend the tenure of office of the 3rd Defendant as the NPA Managing Director six months from the expiration of her present tenure is in contravention of the provisions of Sections 2 and 10 of the NPA Act, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and thereby renders same unlawful, wrongful, illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.
“A declaration that the 1st Defendant lacks the authority, vires and power to prematurely re-appoint and extend the tenure of office of the 3rd Defendant as the Managing Director of the NPA six (6) clear months to the expiration of the said tenure.
“A declaration that the appointment of and composition of the new Board of the NPA as announced by the President on 21st January, 2021, is in blatant violation of the express provisions of Section 2 of the NPA Act, as the Act does not contemplate the composition of the Board based on geopolitical zones.”
SaharaReporters learnt that the defendants had been served respectively and have 30 days to respond to the summons or cause an appearance to be entered for them.