Connect with us

News

Dredging of Eastern to march Lagos impossible – ex-NPA boss *Why I was sacked

Published

on

The intrigues that led to the sacking of Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), on May 6, 2021, has started crawling out, some 23 months after President Muhammadu Buhari approved her removal from office.

The former MD at the centre of it all, who seemed to have decided to go public to tell her own side of the story, on the matter, pointed to two main issues that led to her being shown the exit door – the dredging of the Calabar Port and revealed and the Integrated Logistics (INTELS) boat service contract.

In a book entitled: Stepping on Toes, she narrated how her battle to streamline excesses in the nation’s port system cost her job, saying the two immediate push was her refusal to pay $22million for dredging of Calabar Channel and the renewal of the INTELS Boat Service contracts caused her to lose the job as the MD of NPA.

In the book, the former NPA had argued that the dredging of the four ports, including that of Calabar, would throw up additional risks with attendant increase in insurance premiums due to insecurity issues and inadequate road infrastructure.

Advertisement

“In addition, decisions as to the destination of cargoes are at the discretion of the consignee. To that effect, consideration for the cost of transportation of cargo to the ultimate destination is a major factor in reaching a decision. Lagos remains the commercial capital of the country and most consignees prefer to ship their goods through the Lagos ports where there are ready consumers. Goods designated for other parts of the country are then transported by road by middlemen or directly to consumers. Consumers may also receive the goods in Lagos and make their own arrangements for transportation.”

See also  Tinubu completely caged, now surrounded by thieves, Ndume insists

She also referred to the vexed issue of the shallow draught of the ports outside Lagos, stating that except for the Onne Ports, with an average depth of 12 metres none of the Eastern ports had a draught deeper than eight metres, and that even at that only the Warri Port with the Escravos Channel that achieved that depth in 2019.

Usman, who said she became alert to the dangers she faced in her sixth month in office when it became obvious that she was going to be “swimming with sharks,” claimed that although she had some inkling of irregularities, there was no way of knowing the pervasiveness until she got into the system.

Explaining why the NPA had not dredged the Warri, Onne, Port Harcourt and Calabar Ports, she said all of them were currently river-based ports with limitations of depth because of the design depth of the quay structure.

In fact, she revealed how her problems started in 2017, when her office received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation, entitled: Joint Venture Partnership between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Messrs. Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Ltd on the Management of the Calabar Channel, with a petition attached by the Minister from the law firm of Martin Aguda & Co.

Advertisement

The petition was quoted as saying: “The law firms were solicitors to Messrs. Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Ltd and requested the minister’s intervention in their client’s claim for the sum of $22m purportedly owed to their client by the NPA.”

She said upon investigation as directed by the minister of transportation, the authority found no proof of the work that the company claimed to have executed, even though they had already received the sum of $12.5m.

See also  Suleiman, abducted Zamfara Catholic priest still in captivity, three days after

Based on the correspondence, whe narrated how the NPA set up a committee, which discovered several irregularities surrounding the work and therefore was constrained to decline the request for payment but, instead, demand a refund of the sum previously paid.

The book also stated how she shunned the INTELS boat service contract, saying: “The Nigerian government adopted the landlord ports model, which allows for separate roles and tasks between public and private sectors. 25 private terminal operators out of about one hundred bids received for the three major categories of cargo that were established in accordance with global best practices emerged from this exercise. INTELS was one of these 25 terminal operators.”

She also explained how the company was better known for the service boat operations management, which was a constant source of altercations between NPA and INTELS from 2017 until the end of her tenure.

Advertisement

News

Soyinka, terror to dictators, face of democracy – Tinubu

Published

on

President Bola Tinubu, spared no nice words in showering accolades on Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate on Literature, extolling his democratic credentials, ending it all with the renaming of the National Theatre as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts, in honour 90th birthday of the celebrated playwright, novelist and activist.

The President’s sentiments, on Soyinka, a professor of literature, globally celebrated essayist, actor, singer, composer, and documentarian, who brought great honour to Africa and Nigeria when he won the coveted prize in 1986, was conveyed by Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman in a statement, ahead of the birthday on Saturday, July 13.

Describing him as one of the finest minds of his generation; conforming to the highest standards of human enlightenment, but unyielding to injustice, oppression, and base impulses, Tinubu hailed his long-time friend, with whom he was in the trenches some three decades ago, during the June 12, 1993 struggle.

The statement, which stressed that Tinubu also hailed Soyinka as one of Nigeria’s living repositories of history, knowledge, and courage, and commended him for his valiant efforts in the trenches for the nation’s future both as a pro-democracy champion and as a trenchant voice against corruption and maladministration over several decades, recalled the days of the struggle.

Advertisement

His words: “Our paths crossed during our just struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. When faced with a trial in absentia and death sentence by the military regime at home, he galvanized opposition in exile through NALICON and NADECO. His global stature made him the face of our struggle to validate June 12 and restore democracy in Nigeria.”

See also  Ceaseless security failures, evidence of Tinubu’s incompetence – Atiku

Wishing him many more years in good health and creative fulfilment as a global force for change, he added: “Today, I join the world to celebrate his profound influence on generations of writers, scholars, and activists who have been inspired by his work. I celebrate him for giving us the spark to fight and confront military dictators in our country.

“I am, accordingly, delighted to have the honour to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

News

S’Court: No more allocations to 37 Development centres in Lagos, others  

Published

on

The 37 Local Government Development Centres (LGDC), created in Lagos in 2003, during the tenure of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as Governor of the state, may have been dealt a hard blow, as they will no longer be captured in the funding bracket of the state, going by the interpretation of Thursday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, by some legal minds.

One of those who believe that by the judgement, the councils have lost their source of funding, following the pronouncement of the courts that allocations from the Federation Account be paid directly into the accounts of recognised entities is, Mike Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Lagos has 20 local governments originally created by the Federal Government, while the 37 LGDCs, were created by the Tinubu administration, in a bid to further take governance to the grassroots, a development, which led to a bitter feud between the government and the Federal Government under the President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In fact, throughout the period Obasanjo was in power after the creation of the LGDCs, the state was denied its council allocations, as a punishment to the state, following the former President’s aversion to the move.

Advertisement

It was only the government of Umaru Yar’Adua, Obasanjo’s successor, who released the entire entitlements to the state, when he assumed power in 2007, after the state had funded the councils from its own resources for four years.

Ozekhome, a renowned constitutional lawyer,  who was a guest of The Morning Brief, a breakfast programme on Channels Television, on Friday, told his host that Thursday’s apex court judgement on the autonomy of the councils, made it clear that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would not send funds to local government areas headed by caretaker committee chairmen, or development centres.

See also  Suleiman, abducted Zamfara Catholic priest still in captivity, three days after

Hear him: “The judgement of the government is clear. If you want to receive funds from the federation account, then conduct an election. If what you have in place is a caretaker committee as local government chairman, be sure that it will not have money from the federation account.

“What this law is saying is that if you are not a democratically elected local government council, you cannot have this money under section 162 subsection 5 and 6 of the 199 Constitution. So, what it means is that money should now be ploughed to those local governments that are in existence democratically.”

The only remedy, he stated was for the state to find ways of funding the development centres from the allocations of the councils, adding: “They can do that internally to share. That is their internal business. Nobody can control that one. But for now, the money can only go to those local government areas named in the constitution. Don’t forget they are even named in the constitution, 774 local governments. If you want money from the federation account, such councils must be democratically elected.”

Advertisement

The apex court not only endorsed full local government autonomy and ordering that funds from the FAAC be paid directly to their accounts, but also barred governors from henceforth dissolving democratically elected officials for local governments adding that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

Continue Reading

News

Tinubu completely caged, now surrounded by thieves, Ndume insists

Published

on

Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, on Thursday dug deeper in his earlier revelations putting Nigerians on notice that President Bola Tinubu is currently under a cocoon thrown around him by his aides, who have used the opportunity to mindlessly fleece the national till.

A guest of Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise News Network, Ndume, Chief Whip of the Senate, told his host that the seat of power has now been captured by “kakistocrats” – a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens and kleptocrats – one run by thieves.

Absolving Tinubu of complicity in the alleged massive thievery he alleged that the Presidential Villa and top government bodies have become, he said: “The government is also populated by kleptocrats, but unfortunately that is not what the President is up to. He really meant renewed hope, but you can only do that when you have people around you that are on the same type of thinking.”

Ndume one of the longest serving members of NASS, explained that much as Tinubu, whom he described as a close political associate and a democrat, would always be quick to act on any act of malfeasance that came to his attention, such as his recent repudiation of the Cyber-crime bill, the said unscrupulous aides, had been doing much to keep him away from some critical information.

Advertisement

Hear him: “When the president realised that he had not heard about it, he quickly suspended it.” He highlighted the significant challenge of hunger and food scarcity, mentioning that inflation has risen to 40%. In some places, even with your money, you won’t find the food items you want to buy, which is very dangerous..

See also  BREAKING: EFCC seeks punishment for Yahaya Bello’s lawyers

“Nigeria has never been included among countries facing severe food crises or food insecurity, but recent UN and World Food Programme figures rank Nigeria as a hotspot. For people like me, I have to be scared because I’m 64 years old with 10 children, 20 grandchildren, and I don’t have a passport or visa to anywhere.

“Some Ministers only meet the president during council meetings and that the President is often the first to leave. I’m the chief whip, and if the chief whip can’t have access to the president, the new senators won’t have access either. During the time of President (Olusegun) Obasanjo’s administration, any senator could see the president within 24 hours.

“President Tinubu is caged in. There are no visible efforts by the government to address pressing issues like climate change. The President has to harness Nigeria’s natural and human resources. He must get the right people into office and dominate his government with democrats. The president needs people who will realise his dream and tell him when something is wrong.”

Ndume who also bemoaned the effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy, argued that much as it was a good move to eliminate corruption and allow savings to benefit the people, measures must be taken to cushion such effects, like the introduction of food stamps, adding that presently the anger of Nigerians over their parlous situation could snowball into uncontrollable conflagration.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending