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MD NPA threatens legal actions against media organisations publishing lies about him

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko has threatened to seek legal action against any media organisation serving as channels for publishing falsehoods about him.

Vowing not to succumb to any form of blackmail, the NPA MD said some unknown Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had in the last two years been concocting lies against him, for reasons not established.

He expressed dismay that the faceless organisations turned to using a section of the media to drive their mischief.

In a statement available to newsmen in Lagos, Bello-Koko said he was not able to seek redress in a court of law because the faceless nature of the perpetrators of the act.

He, however, declared his resolve to turn to legal action against any medium that would be used in publishing such lies against his person.

He said: “It is unfortunate that some online news media have lent their platforms to “these desperadoes” to ply their odious trade, noting that all the supposed assertions and innuendos in the report are nothing but spurious and malicious concoctions intended to cause a predetermined damage.

“Having failed in their desperation to dent or hurt my integrity, they have resorted to a very cruel campaign of calumny against my person and my family.

“I need to reiterate that for all of my years as a banker and a public officer up till today, I have never been indicted or convicted by any court.  And this fact is in the public domain.

“I’m also certain that my integrity as well as dedication and fidelity to the rules of public administration must have influenced the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to promote me from the rank of Executive Director (Finance and Administration) to Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Ports Authority.”

Bello-Koko also bemoaned the extent to which the ‘hunters’ went, writing to the UK Government seeking that his assets and that of his family be seized.

He said: “Resorting to writing to the UK Government, seeking visa cancellation and forfeiture of assets belonging to my wife and I, is not only malicious but also cruel and wicked. I have yet to understand why these evil machinations would be orchestrated against me. Is the offence that I committed my acceptance and readiness to serve my country to the best of my ability?

“ This latest attack, in the series of sponsored blackmails targeted at me, which began in 2021 immediately after I was elevated from the position of Executive Director of Finance and Administration to the position of Managing Director of the NPA ,is intended to damage my reputation.

“Is there no limit to what vested interests can do in their desperate pursuit of power and influence? In deceit, they have disingenuously claimed in the sponsored report that UK/Ireland Investigators were the ones that had written to the UK government after they had purportedly unearthed alleged criminal acts against me, bordering on money laundering activities, fraud, forgery, and tax evasion, which are all baseless figments of their malicious intent.

“Whereas, particulars cited in the report were the regurgitated allegations that they had sponsored and which had been doing the rounds in the media from the outset, this latest attempt is as spurious as their first attempt ever. Their claim that UK/Ireland Investigators, and not Metropolitan Police or Scotland Yard, are investigating me falls flat on its face and gives out the sponsors of the report- which is a piece of cheap blackmail-as desperate hustlers who are not civil and neither working in the interest of the society.”

He noted that if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been on the matter as indicated in the report, it is then unfair to suggest or claim that some questionable UK/Ireland investigators were now pushing for an exclusion order to ban him from ever entering the United Kingdom.

The NPA MD noted the need for inter-agency collaboration in line with some bilateral or mutual agreements, and challenged the channels of the malice to be bold enough by mentioning the names and true identities of the CSOs and the investigators.

His words: “I had, on several occasions, stated that the NPA under my leadership is not aware of any secret foreign accounts and I could not have been a beneficiary of something that I am not aware of and, which I would like to emphasize is non – existent to the best of my knowledge.

“The UK property they mischievously mentioned was declared with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and purchased before I was appointed into public office. It is also important to note that the property was purchased on a 15-year mortgage payment plan.

“As NPA MD, I run an open administration that gives premium to due process in the execution of the agency’s core mandates. Our performances have been recently validated by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), which adjudged the NPA on my watch as a Platinum Level Organization, consequent upon the deployment of its Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) in the NPA for the independent assessment, validated assessment and in-depth analysis of processes and practices of the agency. Flowing from the assessment, the BPSR had returned a verdict of “exceptional performance by the NPA with a performance level of 91.25 per cent.”

Bello-Koko said that according to the Director General of BPSR, D.I. Arabi, the NPA’s performance far exceeded expectations due to exceptionally high quality of work in all essential areas of responsibility, resulting in an overall quality of work that is superior, exceptional or unique.

He highlighted that under his watch, the NPA has specifically, in terms of tangible achievements that the various publics can relate with, recorded some modest achievements and has generated the sum of N286 billion and remitted over N100 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account of the federation as of November 2022.

Giving further insights into the NPA’s achievements, the MD said that its committed efforts at advancing trade facilitation recently won it the award of “Best Maritime Agency of the Year 2022” by Daily Telegraph Newspaper.

His words: “In the light of the above, I cannot afford to be distracted by the deliberate shenanigans of blackmailers and vested interests that are desperate to upset the applecart of my sharply-focused leadership that is committed to emplacing and bequeathing to the nation a transparent and accountable management of the NPA now and in the years ahead.

“In rounding off, I will, henceforth, institute legal action against any media house that publishes unsubstantiated and damaging reports about my person.”

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