Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi’s two-year plot to shove aside Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, Thursday night as President Muhammadu Buhari approved his request to suspend her with immediate effect.
A late-night statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said her suspension would allow a panel of inquiry set up by the federal government to investigate the management of the agency to carry out its task without hindrance.
The president approved the appointment of Mr. Mohammed Koko to act for Bala-Usman.
Buhari also approved the recommendation by Amaechi for the setting up of an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate the NPA management.
The panel is to be headed by the Director, Maritime Services of the Ministry of Transportation, while the Deputy Director, Legal of the ministry will serve as the secretary.
Other members of the panel will be appointed by the minister.
Reliable sources told THISDAY Thursday night that Amaechi had been on Bala-Usman’s case for about two years.
The latest pretext the minister used to oust the NPA boss, said a source, is related to the audit and payments to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation, which was managed by the authority’s Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Mohammed Koko, who has now been appointed the acting managing director.
Koko is also said to be Amaechi’s account officer while he was governor in Rivers State.
He is also the minister’s appointee to the NPA board.
Another source expressed fear that Bala-Usman might not justice as the panel investigating her is made up of Amaechi’s staff in the ministry.
A source close to the intrigue told THISDAY: “What more evidence of impending Kangaroo proceeding do you expect when the person managing the suspect’s account is now in charge of the organisation? Does that make sense?”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja