A Northern group under the auspices of Concerned Northern Forum (CNF) has averred that the suspension of the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman was the hand works of desperate politicians seeking to run for the 2023 presidential race.
The group also noted that the NPA MD was suspended because she blocked all financial loop holes which such politicians have been using to milk the Ports of billions of naira over the years.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Amaechi announced recently petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari against Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for alleged unremitted amount of over N165 billion over a period of time.
Addressing a world press conference in Kaduna on Friday, the CNF Spokesperson, Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem who read a text jointly signed by the Chaiman of the forum Comrade Mohammed Salihu Danlami and.himself said the suspension of the NPA MD was illegal because it did not follow due process.
According to the group, “We have noted the grand plan of a witch hunt against Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman in the manner with which she has been moved from one purported offence to the other all in desperate attempt to tarnish her image.
“She was labeled with allegation of non-remittance of monies to the coffers of government which met a brick wall as the Managing Director had made the remittances as so required and the Auditor General of the Federation had further made it clear that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had no legal right of conducting an Audit as the Audited Statements of the Nigerian Ports Authority had been done as statutorily required.
“It is our position as a Forum of Concerned Northerners and patriotic Nigerians, that the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman is a deliberate case of witch hunt, blackmail and bullying because of her refusal to allow politicians unfettered access to the purse of the NPA with which to assemble the financial war chest to fund desperate bid to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023.
“The Concerned Northerners Forum hereby call on Mr. President to retract this kangaroo administrative panel of inquiry as constituted by Mr Amaechi and conduct any such investigation on the Managing Director through the rule of law to uphold the principle of fair hearing, natural justice and equity.
“We have followed every detail of this unfortunate development and wish to unequivocally state that we regard Hadiza Bala Usman’s suspension without following due process as not only an assault on women inclusiveness in governance, but as an attack on Northern Nigeria, and a well-orchestrated attempt to embarrass the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for rewarding the uncommon character, competence and capacity with which Hadiza Bala Usman discharged her duty to Nigeria by recently renewing her appointment as the head of NPA for another term of five years.
“At the time Hadiza Bala Usman was first appointed to head the Nigerian Ports Authority in 2016, the agency was a cesspool of corruption and had become incapable of adding value to the Federal Government to the level expected of an entity that is the gateway to the Nigerian economy.
“Hadiza Bala Usman immediately set to reposition the NPA for greater operational efficiency and revenue generation by blocking all avenues of corruption that hitherto undermined the agency.
“In a bid to achieve this noble objective, she unavoidably stepped on the toes of very powerful political figures with vested interests in the running of the NPA.
“Specifically, she insisted that all revenue generating operation of the NPA must fully comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government. This meant that all companies who had been operating with impunity in handling monies belonging to Nigeria were called to order, and that concession agreements skewed against national interest were reviewed.
“In no distant time, her patriotic actions yielded results with the NPA posting unprecedented remittances in billions to the coffers of the government from 2016 to date.
“We at the Concerned Northern Forum felt very proud of the giant strides of Hadiza Bala Usman especially when we read in the news how global bodies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH) amongst others in recognition of her strides at the NPA appointed her to head strategic aspects of their operations.
“While we are not opposed to probity in governance, there appears to be a sinister and clandestine motive behind the setting up of Mr. Amaechi’s administrative panel of enquiry when there is a clear procedure to discipline erring Chief Executives of Parastatals as approved by Mr President himself in a circular dated May 2020″.
Furthermore, we are curious to ask why only our amazon Hadiza Bala Usman was asked to step aside in an organization whose decision making is carried out by an executive management composed of a Managing Director and three (3) Executive Directors? Could she have single handedly carried out all of the allegations for which she has been suspended? Why then was she singled out for embarrassment and reputational damage?” the forum stated.