Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening approved the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
According to a statement released by the Presidency, Hadiza was asked to step aside to allow investigations into some allegations of impropriety against her. The investigation and her suspension were recommended by Rotimi Amaechi in his capacity as the Minister of Transportation, the ministry that supervises the NPA.
Consequently, an administrative panel of inquiry was set up. The panel would be headed by the Director, Maritime Services of the ministry while Mohammed Koko was appointed as acting MD of the NPA until the investigation is concluded.
Why Hadiza might have been suspended
Hadiza was appointed as the NPA MD in July 2016 and her tenure was supposed to be due in July 2021 but insider information obtained by THEWILL said she lobbied Buhari’s confidants, including his Chief of Staff, for tenure elongation.
The report said the President succumbed to the pressure from his close aides and granted Hadiza a second term in office in January 2021, six months before the expiration of her first tenure. However, an official letter to that effect was yet to be issued.
When Amaechi learned about Hadiza’s desperate second-term ambition, the Aso Rock sources reportedly said he took it up with President Buhari, pointing out that he, as the supervising minister of the NPA, did not recommend the suspended MD for tenure extension.
Amaechi was said to have ordered a probe into Hadiza’s administration at NPA and found out that there were fraudulent activities and misconduct under her management. She was also accused of insubordination as she was said to have shielded the affairs for the NPA from the supervising Ministry of Transportation.
The findings by Amaechi reportedly disappointed the President, who ordered an independent probe. The result of the investigation, according to the presidency sources, confirmed the allegations against Hadiza. This event is believed to have led to her suspension.
What you should know about Hadiza
She is the daughter of the late Dr. Bala Usman, a famous historian and radical of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. In 2015, she served as the Chief of Staff to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, her home state.
The state of insecurity in the country that has led to the kidnap of Kagara boys and Zamfara girls need to be addressed URGENTLY…We can’t go on like this! Rescue our children and Secure our country that’s all we ask 💔💔💔…#SecureNorth #SecureNigeria…
— Hadiza Bala Usman (@hadizabalausman) February 27, 2021
Hadiza has been one of the key campaigners of the Bring-Back-Our-Girls movement. And despite serving under the Buhari administration, she continued to advocate for the rescue of the girls and was vocal on social media about the insecurity situation in the country, calling on the government to step up to its responsibilities.
It is also being insinuated in the public domain that her criticism of the porous security in the nation may be the root of her current ordeal.