Ordinarily, an allegation of financial impropriety from any quarter would never have been enough to move the presidency against the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
Known for her meticulousness, Bala-Usman is a poster girl of accountability, integrity and due process.
It was therefore a surprise to most Nigerians to learn that the presidency had supported her suspension based on allegation of non-remittance of N165bn brought against her by the Ministry of Transportation.
Suspecting something beyond the surface, especially following the hasty and shody manner her suspension was executed, Nigerians went online and dug out a February 27th tweet about insecurity which appeared boldly on Bala-Usman’s Tweeter handle.
Usman had written..”THE STATE OF INSECURITY IN THE COUNTRY THAT HAS LED TO THE KIDNAP OF KAGARA BOYS AND ZAMFARA GIRLS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED URGENTLY..
WE CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS!
RESCUE OUR CHILDREN AND SECURE OUR COUNTRY THAT’S ALL WE ASK”
To all appearances this tweet looked like trouble and an indictment of the government.
This was obvious from a comment made by a follower by the name Simeon of Lagos who said..
“DEM GO SOON SACK YOU AS MD OF NPA NOW(three laughing emojis) YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL.
Bala-Usman, in addition to being the MD of NPA, is a human right activist and a leading coordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign.
Activism runs in her family as her late father, Bala Usman was a social crusader in the 80s.
Bala-Usman may not have known that this tweet was like a needle in the side of the federal government that has been trying and woefully failing to secure the country and the president Muhammadu Buhari who recently got boed by some protestors who accused him of “collecting contract from Saudi Arabia and America to kill Nigerians in the name of bandits.”
It was the springboard that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who had an axe to grind with her for frustrating his attempts to renew dregding contracts of his friends who held the contracts for decades, was looking for.
So on May 6, without bothering to look at the audited accounts of the NPA, Amaechi picked up figures from the raw budget provisions of the agency and went straight to the presidency to report that the agency had failed to remit a whopping N165bn operating surplus.
It is on record that the amount of over N43bn remitted by Hadiza Bala-Usman in 2017 was the highest operating surplus ever remitted to the government in the history of the NPA.
Nigerians then wonder if an innocent tweet by an activist who is expressing genuine concern about the insecurity situation in the country would make the federal government sacrifice one of its best managers to Amaechi who they label the ‘hangman.’