The managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman, has called for an investigation into an alleged assault on her while attending a hearing at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
In a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police, the president of the Senate and Director General of the States State Services, Ms Usman called for the prosecution of perpetrators of the act.
Ms Usman alleged that the action was perpetrated “by people believed to be hirelings of Chairman of Ocean Maritime Solutions Limited (OMSL), Captain Idahosa Okunbo”.
“On leaving the meeting room some hoodlums that accompanied Captain Okunbo to the hearing ambushed me at the exit door and tried to push their way towards me to physically attack me,” she wrote in the petition.
Officials at OMSL, however, denied the allegation saying the company “had no reason” to assault the NPA boss.
The management of the NPA recently announced the termination of a Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) arrangement operated by OMSL in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy.
The agency asked mariners to stop patronising the service which, it said, is causing it to lose billions of naira.
The logistics company, however, kicked against the NPA’s position which it described as inappropriate.
The brewing crisis led to the opening of investigation into the maritime security contract, following a motion sponsored by a senator, George Sekibo, on November 7.
The Senate asked a joint committee on Marine Transport, Navy and Finance to investigative the issue. The committee is led by Mr Sekibo.
On Tuesday, OMSL, Navy and the NPA appeared before the committee.
How I was assaulted – MD
In her petition, Ms Usman said she was at the Senate to make presentation on the controversial issue as requested.
“In the course of the session, Captain (Dr) Idahosa Wells Okunbo of OMSL, having made his submission, stormed out visibly angry breathing fire and brimstone. Following Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo outburst and abrupt exit, the Chairman of the Joint Committee closed the session,” the petition reads.
Ms Usman further wrote that: “On leaving the meeting room, some hoodlums that accompanied Captain Okunbo to the hearing ambushed me at the exit door and tried to push their way towards me to physically attack me, raining abuses on me that I was taking food away from them and their boss, and that they will find me and destroy me.”
The official said it took the efforts of her security detail, NPA’s Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Sekonte Davies, and security personnel from the office of the Deputy Senate President for her and her entourage to leave the premises unhurt.
She called for full investigation of the incident with the intent of bringing the culprits to account.
Allegation diversionary – OMSL
Reacting to the allegation on behalf of OMSL on Friday, Chuma Adogu, said the allegation was a falsehood and “a figment of imagination.”
He described the chairman of OMSL as a “fine gentlemen who has served the nation diligently in various capacities” added that he could not have sponsored thugs to attack the NPA boss.
Mr Adogu, a retired navy commodore, said there was no any sign of the alleged attack or rented crowd in the premises of the National Assembly that could warrant such an allegation.
“We see this as part of the attempt to discredit OMSL and distract attention from the main issue which is already with the Senate,’’ he said.