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Hadiza Bala Usma

…vow to mobilize against her detractors in 2023

By Ibrahim HassanWuyo

Northern Groups that met in Kaduna on Friday ,have alleged that forces against the embattled  Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority( NPA) who was suspended,Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman ,were not only working against her progress but were bent in discouraging other ambitious women from the North from aspiring to higher positions in the country.

The groups under  the aegis of Concerned Northern Groups,said at a world press conference at the Arewa House Kaduna,that anyone that targeted one of their own in such a blatant witch hunt with no regard for due process but setting out only tarnish and destroy their reputation ,will be met with stiff resistance for any ambition such person may have in 2023 elections as far as their massive Northern electorate are concerned.

Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem,
Spokesperson of the Concerned Northern Groups who addressed the press,alleged that the procedure followed to seek the President’s approval for the suspension of
Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was a clear violation of the principle of fair hearing.

“This “step aside” was issued to the Managing Director without her having been served a query of an offence she had done or given an opportunity to defend herself. It was unilaterally given without due regard for disciplinary procedure as enshrined in the Public Service Rules which runs against the principle of fair hearing, justice and equity.”

The groups said there was a grand plan of a witch hunt against Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman in the manner with which one purported offence to the other were heaped on her ,all in desperate attempt to tarnish her image.

“We have followed every detail of this unfortunate development and wish to unequivocally state that we regard Hadiza Bala Usman’s suspension without following due process as not only an assault on women inclusiveness in governance, but as an attack on Northern Nigeria, and a well-orchestrated attempt  to embarrass the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for rewarding the uncommon character, competence and capacity with which Hadiza Bala Usman discharged her duty to Nigeria by recently renewing her appointment as the head of NPA for another five years.”

They recalled that at the time Hadiza Bala Usman was first appointed to head the Nigerian Ports Authority in 2016, the agency  had become incapable of adding value to the Federal Government to the level expected of an entity that is the gateway to the Nigerian economy.

“Hadiza Bala Usman immediately set to reposition the NPA for greater operational efficiency and revenue generation by blocking all avenues of corruption that hitherto undermined the agency. In a bid to achieve this noble objective, she unavoidably stepped on the toes of very powerful political figures with vested interests in the running of the NPA,” they said.

“Specifically, she insisted that all revenue generating operation of the NPA must fully comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government. This meant that all companies who had been operating with impunity in handling monies belonging to Nigeria were called to order, and that concession agreements skewed against national interest were reviewed.”

“In no distant time, her patriotic actions yielded results with the NPA posting unprecedented remittances in billions to the coffers of the government from 2016 to date. We at the Concerned Northern Forum felt very proud of the giant strides of Hadiza Bala Usman especially when we read in the news how global bodies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH) amongst others in recognition of her strides at the NPA appointed her to head strategic aspects of their operations,” they said.

The groups explained that it was in that light that they were rudely shocked at the embarrassing news of singling out of their  shining star and inspirational figure for suspension in the “purported investigation of a trumped-up allegation without following due process.”

They said while they were not opposed to probity in governance, they alleged there appeared to be a sinister and clandestine motive behind the setting up of administrative panel of enquiry when there is a clear procedure to discipline erring Chief Executives of Parastatals as approved by Mr President himself in a circular dated May 2020.

“Furthermore, we are curious to ask why only our amazon Hadiza Bala Usman was asked to step aside in an organization whose decision making is carried out by an executive management composed of a Managing Director and three (3) Executive Directors? Could she have single handedly carried out all of the allegations for which she has been suspended? Why then was she singled out for embarrassment and reputational damage? ”

They said evidence from their finding which is now in the public domain ,revealed that Hadiza Bala Usman was being punished for refusing to carry out actions injurious to Nigeria’s interest and her refusal to hand multi-billion dollar contracts against due process to companies that were preselected .

They said  that anyone that targeted one of their own in such a blatant witch hunt with no regard for due process but setting out only to tarnish and destroy their reputation ,will be met with stiff resistance for any ambition such may have in 2023 elections as far as massive Northern electorate are concerned.

They therefore called on Mr. President to retract the administrative panel of inquiry as constituted and conduct any such investigation on the Managing Director through the rule of law to uphold the principle of fair hearing, natural justice and equity.

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