Shock, outrage as ministry skips due process, hurries to suspend NPA MD before 2nd tenure


The suspension of the Mangong Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman by the Federal Ministry of Transportation is still sending shock waves into the Nigerian economy.
Adjudged to be the best performing MD of the organisation and its first ever female, Bala Usman was to formally commence her second term as the MD of the parastatal in June, but before this could happen, the ministry on May 6 announced that she had been suspended.
In suspending Bala-Usman who just few months ago received the Fedral Government’s nod to continue for a second term as the MD of NPA, the ministry went against all established norms and process of disciplining staff in Usman’s cadre.
Rumours were rife of a power play in the ministry, where Mohammed Koko, a former aide to the minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi had been chosen as a replacement.
According to approved disciplinary procedure against chief executive officers of federal government parastatals, agencies and departments, the government had expressed concern over the arbitrary removal of CEOs and its impact on stability and service delivery.
Subsequently in a circular signed by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, the president approved a set of rules to guide discipline and removal of its officers.
One of the rules states that when a misconduct has been reported, the supervising minister should refer the matter to the governing board for necessary action and the board in turn in line with due process, issue a querry to the officer concerned requesting explanation for the specific act complained about.
The above process was overlooked in the case of Bala Usman, along with other provisions which include the duty of the SGF to investigate and advise the president on the appriopriate course of action including suspension.
In response, stakeholders have labelled Bala Usman’s suspension as witch hunt by self-seeking interests.
They claim that she is put on the chopping block because of her gender and the fact that some people have been threatened by her emergence from day one, as a woman who represents the integrity and meticulousness of the female gender.
The due process MD
Bala-Usman is fondly called ‘Madam due process’ by all who know and have worked with her.
Stakeholders hold the belief that this has been the major reason for some people to seek her removal as she would insist on due process before the government fund is spent.
“They want to have free hand to dip their hands into the NPA purse, a shipowner who craved anonymity told our correspondent.”
The minister appointed koko as the MD in the interim, stakeholders conclude that this is because the ninister wants Koko who is a former staff of his to be in the NPA to serve his interest.
They argue that if Usman’s cabinet is being investigated, then Koko had no business taking over from her or even remaining in the office because he was executive director of finance in her administration.
This story is developing and we will keep you posted as events unfold.


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