HQ attack: Critical information, documents not tampered with – NPA boss

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By Chiazo Ogbolu

Lagos, Nov. 1, 2020 Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has said that critical information, finance and payment documents of the authority were not tampered with during the fire incident at its headquarters.

Bala-Usman made this known on Sunday in Lagos when addressing newsmen after an on-the-spot assessment of the damage at the headquarters.

Naija247news reports that on Oct. 21, hoodlums masquerading as EndSARS protesters set part of the anex building of the NPA headquarters and some cars on fire.

According to Bala-Usman, critical documents and information are not sited in the affected area, and so have not been tampered with.

She said that the building, being a critical infrastructure of the Federal Government in Lagos, was a target during the attacks on facilities.

The managing director also spoke on allegations of not having adequate security personnel to man the premises.

“NPA was attacked on Oct 20 at TinCan Island port by hoodlums; the commissioner of police with the help of the Nigerian customs was able to repel the hoodlums.

“Due to the attack on TinCan port, our priority was to secure the ports, the Nigerian Army and Navy deployed were at the port because we felt the port was more critical to our economy.

“We did not feel the need to deploy them at the headquarters coupled with the fact that we had mobile police on ground at the premises.

“On Oct. 21, we had an attack at the headquarters building in Marina.

“They disarmed the security people and gained access to the premises where they torched so many places, burnt 27 vehicles, and a whole wing of a building was also torched.

“We were able to get the support of the Nigerian armed forces and they were able to apprehend six of the hoodlums who are with the Nigerian Navy undergoing interrogation, and necessary actions will commence within the necessary judiciary provision,” she said.

Bala-Usman said that the over 300 hoodlums came with knives, daggers and were attacking security personnel at the building.

She said the security personnel were in a weak state and demoralised due to the fact the policemen were butchered across the state and had to run for their lives.

The NPA boss said that all assets were duly insured as required and the insurers had been invited.

She said the organisation was going through the process of reclaiming its insurance.

The managing director said that they were able to resume all port operations within 24 hours of the attack.

She said that only one of the officers trying to escape had a fracture when he was trying to jump down from the office building, to gain access to the next one.

The managing director said air conditioners, water dispensers, television, and even small tables and chairs were carted away by the looters.

She said that two vehicles were stolen — a Hilux and Prado jeep.

“Right now, we cannot determine the value lost until we are able to conclude with the insurance, so that they can provide the exact value, and an integrity test is ongoing to determine the integrity of the building.

“Some of the vehicles are new for our operational use and recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, and also we have lost out on staff buses.

“We are resilient and committed to ensuring that government gets its value in trade.

“We are in a difficult position because of the state of our office and equipment, but we will soldier on, that is the Nigerian spirit,” she said.

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