Legal Nigeria

‘Buhari has sacked Bala-Usman’

Bala Usman

By Robert Egbe.

The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that President Muhammadu Buhari has terminated the appointment of the embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman.

It stated this in a July 12 counter-affidavit 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, numbered FHC/L/CS/485/2021, was brought against the President on March 25, 2021 by the Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Ltd, Asu Beks, Tompra Abarowei, and Miebi Senge as first to third plaintiffs respectively.

The first to fourth defendants are Buhari, Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; 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 that “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.”

Praying the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that it had, become academic, the statement added: “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.

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