Panel fails to quiz Bala-Usman after six months of suspension as NPA boss

Bala Usman 0

The panel inaugurated by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to probe the suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, has failed to quiz her over six months after she was suspended,

Bala-Usman, a former Chief of Staff to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, had been suspended by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on May 6, 2021.

Following a publicized feud with Amaechi, Bala-Usman was accused of breaching some unspecified rules and was suspended pending the outcome of investigations, while an NPA Director and close ally of the minister, Mohammed Koko, was asked to resume as acting managing director of the agency.

On May 11, barely six days after her suspension, Amaechi set up an 11-member committee to investigate the activities of NPA dating back to 2016 when Bala-Usman was first appointed.

The committee’s terms of reference, Amaechi said, included examining and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by Bala-Usman and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 till date.

The panel was also empowered to examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of other contracts of the NPA and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts, court ruling and presidential directives. However, it was given no deadline on when to submit its report.

In July, the President, while responding to a suit instituted by a group, which challenged the premature re-appointment of Bala-Usman in January, said she had been sacked already even though no letter of termination had been handed over to her.