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Nigeria: Suspended Ports MD Bala-Usman Refutes Claims She Singlehandedly Awarded Contracts 

Suspended managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman says media reports claiming she solely awarded ports contract during her tenure is irresponsible and mischievous. Ms Usman stated this in a statement she personally

Suspended managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman says media reports claiming she solely awarded ports contract during her tenure is irresponsible and mischievous.
Ms Usman stated this in a statement she personally signed on Sunday in which she staunchly denied claims that she’s involved in a “clandestine ploy to short-change a company” in favour of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari last week approved the suspension of Bala Usman as the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the recommendation of the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and approved the appointment of Mohammed Koko pending the outcome of an investigation into the maritime sector.
According to Usman, the NPA has an executive management team, which always considers and takes business decisions on all assets of the NPA in the best interest of the country.
“To claim that I singlehandedly awarded a contract in my capacity as Managing Director, is, therefore, irresponsible, mischievous, and defamatory,” she said in the statement.
“The report also mischievously lumped the now expired service boat contract between the NPA and the Integrated Logistics Services’ (INTELs), which took off in 2007 with a review of a ten-year extension in 2011 to culminate in expiration in August 2020 with the lease under discussion.
“The service boat contract expired through the effluxion of time and the Authority initiated a procurement process in which INTELs participated in line with all extant laws.”
She also denied any involvement in a secret plan to short-change a company in favour of Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.
The statement read: “This report is false, without any foundation and a figment of some wild imagination of the news platform.
“I also note the insinuation of a non-existent monetary transfer between Alhaji Dangote and I during the 2015 elections. As I told People’s Gazette when I was approached about this story, no such transaction occurred.
“Having gone through the trouble to give this explanation, I demand that Sahara Reporters publish this rebuttal and give it the same measure of prominence given to the false story, which runs against all known ethics of journalism.
“In 2018, the Authority realised that INTELs had neither been making these payments for five years nor putting the berths to optimal use.
“The Authority then wrote INTELs to request for the payment of the arrears of monies that were unpaid and expand the utilisation of the facility.
“With the continued under-utilisation of the facility, the fact that there was no contractual agreement with INTELs from the outset and the urgent need to decongest the ports in Lagos, the Authority offered the berths to an internationally renowned container handling company, Messers International Container Terminal Nigerian Limited (ICTNL) for the use of the berths for container cargo discharging.
“ICTNL has signed a contract for the lease of the berths with the Authority and has commenced the installation of container handling equipment when INTELS instituted a court action challenging the withdrawal of the offer. That case is still in court!”
By Abel Ejikeme

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