The politics of suspension of NPA chief executive, Bala-Usman
By Awazie Emmanuel
The recently suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman was celebrated by supporters of President Mohammadu Buhari for her role in forcing ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar to divest his interest in INTELS.
But today, the same Usman is being accused of fraud of over N165 billion by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Anytime you see a public office holder criticizing the government, just know that his/her job is being threatened and trying to deceive us to gather public sympathy.
“That’s the reason I didn’t buy into the narrative in a tweet posted by Usman where she criticized the government on the security issue.
As for me, I was 100 percent sure that she was not removed because of her February 27th tweet, it must be something deeper than that.
Those of us in the Maritime sector knew that something was not going down well in NPA. Because the manner the workers of the Port Authority suddenly embarked on industrial action without any prior notice in April 2021 was worrisome.
They blocked the waterways, and all vessels were blocked from entering or going out of the channel and the port. Sailors that were supposed to go on time off were stranded for weeks, other vessels that were supposed to receive provisions were literally starving at sea, while drilling and export operations were suspended, till the strike was called off after two weeks.
Again, on May 1, 2021, the NPA workers went on another round of strike for 5 days before it was finally called off.
So when the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu announced that “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the recommendation of the Ministry of Transportation under Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi for the setting up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to investigate the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA,” it became very clear that Amaechi and Usman are no longer operating on the same page again.
The funny thing about this news is that Amaechi just discovered that since 2016, the NPA managing director has not remitted over N165 billion into the federation account and he prayed Buhari in the memo titled: “Remittance of operating surplus to the consolidated revenue fund account by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016 to date”, to order an audit into the accounts and operations of the NPA.
To think that the minister and the government just realized this after Usman was confirmed for a second term in office is also cause for concern.
So the President has no choice but to aceed to his miniser’s request for the NPA boss to step aside while the investigation is carried out and the mantle fell on Mohammed Koko, the authority’s executive director of finance to carry on as the acting managing director.
Though some of the supporters of Usman are saying that her suspension from the office seems to have everything to do with the supremacy battle and power tussle between her and Transportation Minister, Amaechi.
That she has direct access to Buhari and Amaechi couldn’t control her anymore, that she refused to do Amaechi’s bidding and that she challenged some of his orders and directives. So what and who cares?
But when she was fighting Atiku and forced him to sell off his shares in INTELS they were celebrating her as the best thing that happened to Nigeria after ‘jellof rice’ was discovered.
The core of the matter is that Amaechi alleged that she didn’t remit over N165 billion into the federation account, and this is no small money to just sweep under the carpet like that, we are all waiting patiently to see the end of the matter.
But wait for a minute, all these huge allegations of corruption are happening in APC, under watch of President Buhari and his administration that’s supposed to be fighting corruption?