By DAPO OLAWUNI
Investigations have revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari might be announcing a new Managing Director for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) any moment from now, even as the President recently washed his hands off the embattled former MD, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
Reliable sources have confirmed that Buhari may name a new NPA helmsman in next 14-days
Recall that Buhari had announced recently in a preliminary objection submitted at a Federal High Court in Lagos that Hadiza Bala Usman has been sacked as the MD of NPA.
Hadiza Bala-Usman was accused of non-remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) by the NPA management under her leadership
Findings by our correspondent have however revealed that the Presidency is currently awaiting nomination of a candidate by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for the lucrative job of MD of NPA.
Apart from these, it was reliably gathered that the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi is presently under pressure from South South APC Chieftains, insisting that Hadiza’s successor must come from the region.
The Acting Managing Director, Bello-Koko is also said to be swinging his connections to ensure that he is confirmed as substantive MD.
According to our reliable source, Kebbi State strong forces, led by Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami is said to be drumming support for the Acting MD , Bello Mohammed Koko to be confirmed as substantive MD.
However, since Hadiza’s exit at the NPA and the subsequent appointment of Muhammed Bello Koko as Acting Managing Director, the NPA has been struggling to keep up.
Speaking with our correspondent, an industry operator stated that “It appears to me that the Acting MD is unsure of himself because, since he came onboard, he has not called a single meeting maritime stakeholders or even held a single press conference”
“The NPA has been very quiet after Hadiza left the place, look at the ETO Call-Up system, the system has failed because of proper monitoring, the security operatives around Apapa port have now become more emboldened to collect bribe”
“Truckers now pay money as much as N150,000 bribe before they are allowed to access the port, these monies are not receipted ” he said
Recall that Koko was the Executive Director of Finance and Admin when Hadiza was in the saddle.
There are underground forces that have vowed however to ensure that
Koko must sink with the embattled Hadiza Bala Usman.
Coordinating Director of Data Centre for Rural Development, Moses Uvomata lamented recently in a chat with journalists that it is wrong for Nigerian government to suspend the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman and keep the Executive Director of Finance and Admin, Mohammed Bello-Koko who is responsible for initiating remittances in question.
He said in every organisation, the person that is responsible for such remittance is the Executive Director of Finance who failed in his duties.
He said if the ED Finance had implemented the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, a software that organisations use to manage day-to-day business activities such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, nobody would be talking about remittance now.
“Our demands: the Director of Finance and Admin should also be suspended immediately, the head of the probe panel should be changed immediately and after the probe, NPA should acquire the appropriate ERP that automate its accounting processes to avoid future occurrences of issues of this sort,” he added.
Meanwhile, the sack hammer is currently dangling on the Board of the agency led by its Chairman, Emmanuel Adesoye.
In a suit number FHC/L/CS/485/2021, filed by Asu Beks through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN) the NPA Board Chairman was listed as a defendant in case challenging President Muhammadu Buhari over the constitution of the NPA board.
The suit is being heard before Justice Tujjani Garba Ringim of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi
The plaintiffs held that the newly constituted Board of NPA has no Representative of the Ministry of Transportation as enshrined in the statues of the NPA Act and that it reflected complete disregard for professionalism and requisite expertise in shipping and ancillary maritime matters for its members.