NPA: Hajia Bala Usman In Deep Pains Over Massive Destruction And Looting Of Corporate Headquarters By Hoodlums

By Stephen Ubanna

 Hajia  Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director ,Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA  is  not a happy person. Hajia Usman source of unhappiness was the massive  Vandalisation and looting of the Authority Corporate Head  office at Marina, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, by the  hoodlums who were said to have hijacked the END SARS protest  which took the  nation by storm  on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

Looking casual amidst tight security, she had taken some Journalists round the  Agency premises and the main building including the annex on Sunday, November 1, 2020, to see things for themselves. It was a horrible scene, for an office that was said to have been rehabilitated with about N5.1 billion and handed over to the Agency by the Contracting firm,  about  two years ago, precisely in 20218.

 The guarded  tour was said to have taken the Journalists to the outside premises to see the damaged vehicls and other items, were  From there, the Journalists were said to have been taken to the   first floor of the office Complex  and finally to all the  other floors  touched  by the hoodlums.  There is gainsaying the fact that all the six floors of the office Complex including the  annex  were  touched by the hoodlums, numbering  over 300,  and who were said to be armed with machetes, axe , charms  and other dangerous weapons.

 A visitor to the  NPA,  Corporate Headquarters. would be surprised how the premises had been defaced and the office Complex turned  upside down by the hoodlums . From the annex to the main building where the  Boardroom, studio , Audit to some other departments, including hajia Usman’s office, the story was the same, burning and looting of offices.

  Notwithstanding the ransacking of her own office on the sixth floor  and removal of vital documents, what may have  pained the NPA boss, particular, was the destruction of the  Agency Studio, which contains  its  archival materials between 1954 and date  and the looting of the  studio as all the Cameras and Computer systems were removed. 

Jatto Adams, a General Manger and Head of the Agency Corporate and Strategic  Communication was short of words  at the destruction of the studio, described in maritime circles  as a mini- CNN, because  of the sophisticated equipment found in it . More pathetic was the setting ablaze by the hoodlums of the Audit department, thus destroying the Agency vital documents.  

NPA Corporate Headquarters Set Ablaze By Hoodlums

Insiders told the Value News t that the only office which the hoodlums could not have access was the Accounts  Department  despite  all the attempts made to do so.  The Magazine gathered  that they had  chased out   all    the Staff from  the  building  before setting some of the offices they could find  their way into  including the  annex  ablaze and then  embarked on the looting spree.

 Virtually all the official vehicles including buses   found in the premises and at the Agency garage were either set ablaze or vandlised. She  had  confirmed that  27 vehicles  parked within the premises of the building  were completely damaged  while 33 others were vandalised. The damaged  vehicles  run into millions of naira. The Value News had  cited all the burnt vehicles  including  the  three  buses that were recently  procured by the Management.  Over the  lastone week the Authority Management  and Staff had been working  round the clock to gather the debris together in one  and clean up the premises to be good looking agin.

The  hoodlums may have shown that they were not  only out to destroy NPA  physical Assets and  infrastructural facilities  but also  to steal. This is evident going  with the recent  recovery  of a Toyota Land Cruiser  SUV  Stolen from the NPA  Corporate  Head  office  in the guise of the END SARS Protest by the hoodlums.

 The recovery  was to have been made  by  the Navy.  That much was Confirmed by  Andy Zidon, Commander, the Base Operations  and Acting  Executive  officer, NNS Beecroft, at the instance  of Ibrahim  Shetima, a Commodore and Commander,  NNS, Becroft. The recovered vehicle was said to have been handed over to the Lagos state Police Command for safe custody. Also, the  Police Command  under  the close watch of Hakeem Odumosu, were said to have  recovered some other looted  items from the facility. In addition,  no fewer than six persons were said to have  arrested and interrogated by the police in connection with the arson.

Given the  massive damage at the NPA Head office, Hajia Usman, had  cried out to the government for support  in order to replace  all the lost items. It is instructive to note that the  National Assembly had  had  slashed its budget this year . This is where President Muhammadu Buhari  has to step in to bail it out from its present financial predicament to come out of the mess.

Hajia Usman: MD, NPA, In Deep Pains

 The Katsina state born Nigerian  president may  have  shown that he is interested in coming to the aid of  the Authority  as he was said to have directed Babatude Raji Fashola, a former Governor of Lagos state and now minister of  Works  and Housing, and other south west ministers in his government  who were in Lagos to Commiserate with Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the  Lagos state governor  over the destruction of public and private properties in the state by the hoodlums  to make a stopover at the NPA  Corporate Headquarters to assess the level of  damage  at the national Asset and report back to him.

Meanwhile. The Insurance  Companies  engaged by the Authority  were said to have started  taking stock  of properties  destroyed by the hoodlums  to ascertain the level of damage . The NPA Managing Director  may  have alluded to this when she said   that’’ the building is comprehensively insured’’. The Insurance Companies are said  to be working with the relevant units of the Authority, particular, the  NPA Insurance Company officials to ascertain the    extent of the damage and the value.

Note that once an  Individual or a Company   insures a property or facility   and there is a claim and evidence  to back it up, the Insurance Companies  take over the Payment. This, according to an Insurance analyst, depend on the amount used for  the property.

 This may have informed why the Consortium  of  Insurance Companies that had insured the Authority Corporate Headquarters may have to ascertain the value  of the  damage and restore it back   to the same value  where it was   before  the destruction occurred.    Many believe that  the NPA multi-billion naira   damaged property  may be  a huge  loss to  the nation’s Insurance Industry but  the Companies cannot run  away from it  because they had entered  into the business of recovering loses, an insider said.

The massive destruction and looting of the  NPA Corporate office,  may have encouraged the Katsina state born Nigerian President to issue a  directive  that’’ all public Assets across the country must be properly  guarded by the   security agencies personnel including the Army’’ .  The fallout was the large presence  of  armed soldiers and policemen, including Department of State Security personnel, DSS, at the NPA Corporate Head office. This  may  have made the Federal ministry of Transportation  Agency  and  the other government agencies office  a  no go area for hoodlums  attack in the  future .

In a related development, the NPA, helmswoman, had told those that cares to listen that  the hoodlums attack on the Marina office of the Agency    would not   affect its operations at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island and the south east ports of Port Harcourt Area 1, Onne, Rivers port, Delta port and Calabar port.

The NPA Managing Director, described as an action woman, in Maritime circles  who could not hide her feelings   had expressed her  regret over  the  attack at the Tin can Island port  on Tuesday,  October 20, 2020. Giving an insider information, she had said  that  the hoodlums had made several  attempts  to forcefully  gain entry  into the port operational area  but were stopped by  Police Mobile Force, PMF, and the Port Policemen including the Nigerian Customs Service personnel.

  The hodlums may have succeeded in attacking the Administrative block of the Tin can island port and destroying  a truck evacuating cargo from the port but that was how far they could go. As directed by the Nigerian President, security had been tightened up at the ports to avoid a repeat of the  stoppage  of  operations at the Lagos ports  for almost four days.

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