The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, was not queried, nor was she made aware of the allegations against her management prior to her suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Thursday night announced that Mr Buhari had approved the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate Ms Usman’s management of the NPA.
“The President has also approved that the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, step aside while the investigation is carried out. Mr Mohammed Koko will act in that position,” Mr Shehu added.
However, PREMIUM TIMES determined Friday morning that the NPA managing director was not told what her offences were or formally communicated before her suspension was announced by the presidency.
When contacted early Friday morning, Ms Usman confirmed that she neither received a query nor a suspension letter. She declined further comments on her ordeal.
Not querying her or making her aware of her offence(s) before suspending her is a clear breach of the processes stipulated in the government’s own regulation for disciplining heads of government agencies.
According to a government circular dated May 19, 2020, and endorsed by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, when there is an issue of impropriety against the head of an agency, the federal government requires a minister, through the permanent secretary of the supervising ministry, to refer the matter to the governing board of the affected agency in line with its enabling law and chapters three and 16 of the Public Service Rules on discipline and government parastatals.
The board will then issue the affected official a query and subsequently advise the minister of its findings and recommendations.
But whether the board is itself the source of the allegation of misconduct against the chief executive or the chief executive is the chairman of the board, the minister, on the advice of the permanent secretary, still has to ensure a query is issued, requesting an explanation from the accused official.
•Credit: PREMIUM TIMES