The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said that was not aware of the suspension of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, MPA, Hadiza Bala Usman.
It was widely reported that the President, Muhammadu Buhari approved Hadiza Usman’s suspension following a recommendation by Amaechi and after Usman’s suspension, Amaechi inaugurated an 11-member investigative panel to probe NPA over all contracts awarded since 2016 when she became its Managing Director.
Hadiza Usman was initially accused of failing to remit the operating surplus of NPA to the consolidated revenue fund (CFR), an allegation she denied bit was reported that the administrative panel set up by Amaechi will now focus on “insubordination”.
But during an interview with Arise TV on Monday, Rotimi Amaechi denied knowledge of Usman’s suspension, saying she was only asked to “step aside” pending the conclusion of the probe on NPA.
He said, “I am not aware that I suspended Hadiza, I’m not the president. So I don’t have such powers. That power rests with the president,” alone. What happened, I suspect, is that she was asked to step aside to enable investigation to be carried out on NPA, not on her.
“We are investigating NPA and at the conclusion of the investigation, all the reports will be forwarded to the president who would make a determination on the way forward”. I am also not aware when the panel will conclude its probe on NPA.
The Minister accused the media of creating “too much noise” on the suspension of the NPA MD as the panel is headed between the ministry of transport and office of the head of service. The office of the head of service contributed six persons including auditors and accountants, and the ministry of transport just brought five.
It is NPA that is under investigation. The Managing Director was just been asked to step aside pending the conclusion of the investigation and when the investigation is concluded, the president will make a determination and decide what happens next.”