On Thursday 6th of May 2021, Nigerians woke up to the surprise of the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman, the 5year Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority. Her suspension came after the Minister of Transportation raised concerns against the NPA boss for not remitting N165Bn operating surplus to the consolidated revenue fund account. This comes as no surprise as the NPA is riddled with misappropriation accusations and feats of insubordination perpetuated by the MD over her supervising Minister and the hierarchy of command.
Queries of Non-Remittance to Federation accounts have long plagued the Nigerian Ports Authority under the leadership of Bala Usman. The office of the Auditor General of the Federation has repeatedly come at the NPA for gross betrayal of public trust as shown by its flagrant disregard for due process – all while faulting the management of Bala Usman. For instance, one such queries was the unremitted deduction to the FIRS amounting to N3Bn, $148Mn, 4Million Euros and £252,000. The Auditor Generals office has also raised concerns over the growing administrative operational expensive of the Authority and it’s under disclosure of expenditures.
It is important to mention that Bala Usman got into office with the recommendation and help of Rotimi Ameachi – an ally she has worked with very recently at the APC secretariat during the concluded 2019 general elections – Rumors had sprang up of the two falling apart, with the Minister refusing to back her bid for a second 5year tenure, this could be because Bala Usman began to follow agendas contrary to the Ministers’.
Bala Usman’s insubordination arose due to her fondness with the President thus sending her memos directly to the president – breaching protocol and subverting due process – and refusing to comply with her supervising Minister when he instructed she dropped, including a case in court relating to Intels. Media reports have long sprung up citing the Minster as to saying “[He] would cut her wings” and that “[He] would cut her to size” Did Bala Usman not know that the hand that giveth can as well taketh? Did her agenda – Rumored for wanting a gubernatorial candidacy in Katsina – blind her in doing her job and remitting the NPA’s fair share to Federal Accounts?
It is particularly important for government officials and public servants to work hand-in-hand so as to both do more public good and this is only possible when public servants follow the laid down processes and follow instructions. Leakages of confidential “restricted” government documents break the resolve of the Nigerian spirit and weakens the citizens trust in government and this should be avoided at all cost and perpetrators arrested and prosecuted no matter ones’ caliber in government.
A panel has been set up by the Minister to audit and investigate the non-remittance of these said funds. All answers will come to light when the panel does its job and findings published. It is our duty to now let these institutions do their job and believe in their capacity.
– Muhammad Gulani