By John Ikani
Suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman is being considered for reinstatement or another job under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bala-Usman was suspended in May 2021 by the Nigerian Government as part of moves to “allow an independent audit of the accounts and remittances of the agency” under her watch.
She was accused of breaches contravening government’s financial regulations regarding under-remittances by the NPA under her watch.
In her place, Mohammed Bello Koko was appointed to head the agency in an acting capacity since then.
Although, the panel set up by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to investigate alleged infractions by the suspended Managing Director of the NPA, is yet to submit its findings, a development suggesting that Bala-Usman may not return to her seat.
What we know
Sources familiar with the matter, told Heritage Times that plans are being perfected to either reinstate the suspended NPA boss or consider her for another job in the public service, adding that a formal announcement will be made shortly.
Recall that Bala-Usman informally met with Buhari during the President’s courtesy visit to the Emir of Zazzau, HRH Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, in Zaria, Kaduna State as part of his two-day working visit to the State on Friday.
The suspended MD was seen having a chat with the President in one of the photographs sent out by Aso Rock media handlers.
Bala-Usman might have met with President Buhari previously behind-closed-door and off the cameras, but Friday’s meeting was the first time the duo will be seen together in public since the suspension was pronounced.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and his deputy, Hadiza Balarabe, were also seen in the photograph standing close to the Bala-Usman and President Buhari.
In case you missed it
Bala-Usman, an ally of El-Rufai, was first appointed as the NPA MD in 2016.
El-Rufai appointed the embattled NPA boss in 2015 as his Chief of Staff. In July 2016, Buhari appointed her as NPA MD, after nomination by the governor.
Bala-Usman’s suspension in May was linked to the alleged face-off between Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
In March 2020, the President denied Amaechi’s ally, Dakuku Peterside, a second term as Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Buhari replaced him with Bashir Jamoh, the former Executive Director, Administration and Finance. Some analysts blamed El-Rufai for Peterside’s fate.
Heritage Times learnt that Jamoh is the father of the wife of Tunde Sabiu, Personal Assistant to the President.
Amaechi had ensured Peterside got the APC governorship ticket for Rivers in 2015, but the latter lost to Governor Nyesom Wike.
With Buhari in office, Amaechi successfully pushed Peterside’s nomination for NIMASA, an agency also under his ministry.