For the first time since she left office in 2021, the former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has revealed how her battle to streamline excesses in the nation’s port system cost her job. According to her, the refusal of the authority on her watch to pay $22 million for the dredging of Calabar Channel and the renewal of the INTELS Boat Service contracts caused her to lose the job as the MD of NPA.
Bala-Usman in her new book entitled, “Stepping on Toes: My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority”, disclosed that the renewal of the capital dredging contract and the service boat management contract triggered her removal from office by former minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
LEADERSHIP reports that Bala-Usman was suspended from office in May 2021 following allegations that NPA failed to remit about N165bn operating surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the federation.
The suspension order approved by President Muhammadu Buhari followed a request for the probe of the accounts of the NPA by former transportation minister, Amaechi.
The minister subsequently set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate the affairs of the NPA, including awards of contracts from 2016 to May 2021.
“My management of the NPA had to be investigated because of the amount unremitted to the CFR (Consolidated Federation Revenue). He even tried to sway the governors’ resolve by suggesting to them that the budget of the NPA was bigger than most of their state budgets, so they shouldn’t bother about me.
“When the governors persisted, he told them that the matter was no longer within his purview and that they may need to approach the Head of Service of the Federation.
“He told another person who tried to intervene that I was so selfish that I did nothing for him from the NPA, and never even gave him a birthday present,” Bala-Usman stated in her new book.