BREAKING: Court Fixes July 5th for Asu Beks Suit Against NPA Board, Executive Directors


A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed Monday, 5th of July 2021 for hearing of a suit filed by a maritime stakeholder, Elder Asu Beks, against Board of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and its Executive Directors.

Elder Beks and two other plaintiffs; Mr Tompra Abarowei and Mr Miebi Senge on Thursday, March 25, 2021 filed the suit challenging the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari as 1st defendant in the suit, to unlawfully constitute the board of the NPA, as well as appointment of its Executive Directors without recourse to the statutory provisions of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act.

Elder Beks, Chief Executive Officer of Maritime Media Limited, Publishers of Shipping World Magazine also joined the embattled Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman in the suit, saying that Buhari prematurely reappointed, six clear months before her tenure expires.

Justice Tujjani Garba Ringim of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi has now fixed Monday, July 5th as date to enable all parties in the suit prepare their processes for argument.

Elder Beks had filed the application through his counsel, Chief Mike A.A. Ozekhome, SAN chambers.

The plaintiffs held that the newly constituted Board of NPA has no Representative of the Ministry of Transportation as enshrined in the statues of the NPA Act and that it reflected complete disregard for professionalism and requisite expertise in shipping and ancillary maritime matters for its members.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/485/2021, apart from President Buhari, other defendants in the court action are the Minister of Transportation, the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman and the Chairman, Board of NPA, Mr Emmanuel Adesoye.

The group has therefore put forward the following questions for determination:

1. “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 Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) six clear months before the expiration of her existing tenure of office”.

2. “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:

1. 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 Managing Director of the NPA 6 clear 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. An order setting aside the purported and premature re-appointment of the 3rd Defendant as the Managing Director of the NPA, and the consequential dissolution of the Board of the NPA headed by the 4th Defendant and as reconstituted by the 1st Defendant in January 2021.

5. An order directing the 3rd Defendant and the entire Board of the NPA to vacate forthwith their respective offices and refund all salaries, allowances and benefits received by them with effect from January 21, 2021, (When the Board was appointed), to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

6. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant, either by himself and/or acting through any of his Ministers, officers, servants, agents, and/or privies, under any guise howsoever from further breaching provisions of the NPA Act by prematurely re-appointing and extending the tenure of office of the 3rd Defendant occupant of the office of Managing Director, NPA and also members of the Board of the NPA, in gross violation of the express provisions of the NPA Act, LFN, (2004).

In the 19-point affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiffs averred that the NPA Act is the enabling Act that governs the NPA and it stipulates the composition and membership of the Board and that such is not based on geopolitical zones as the present Board suggests.

They further posited that the actions of President Buhari are clearly outside and in excess of the provisions of the NPA Act.

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