By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A group under the auspices of Concerned Nothern Forum, (CNF) has accused Minister of Transportation, Honourable Rotimi Ameachi, of what it described as witch-hunting of their own, following the suspension of the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman.
CNF stated at a World Press Conference, held in Kaduna on Friday; even as it claimed that the action is a deliberate case of blackmail and bullying for Hadiza Bala Usman’s refusal to allow the minister unfettered access to the purse of the NPA.
A statement jointly signed by CNF Chairman, Mohammed Salihu Danlami; and Spokesperson, Comrade Abdulsalam Kazeem, respectively noted that Hadiza Usman, without doubt, has contributed immensenly towards the development of NPA which has attracted a lot of global bodies in recent times.
“It is in the light of this, that we were rudely shocked at the embarrassing news of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi’s singling out of our shining star and inspirational figure for suspension in his purported investigation of a trumped-up allegation without following due process,” the group stated.
CNF further claimed that by this action, the Minister hoped to assemble the financial war chest to fund his desperate bid to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria come 2023.
The group said: “We have noted the grand plan of a witch-hunt of the Honourable against Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman in the manner with which he has moved from a purported offence to the other, all in desperate attempt to tarnish her image.
“He had initially commenced with a spurious allegay of non-remittance of monies to the coffers of government which met a brick wall as the Managing Director had made the remittances as so required and three Auditor General of the Federation had further made it clear that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had no legal right of conducting an Audit as the Audited Statements of NPA had been done as statutorily required.
“This step aside was issued to the Managing Director without her having been served a query of an offence she had done or given an opportunity to defend herself. It was unilaterally given without due regard for disciplinary procedure as enshrined in the Public Service Rules which runs against the principle of fair hearing, Justice and equity.
“We have followed every detail of this unfortunate development and wish to unequivocally state that we regard Hadiza Bala Usman’s suspension without following due process as not only an assault on women inclusiveness in governance, but as an attack on Nothern Nigeria and a well orchestrated attempt by Mr. Amaechi to embarrass the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for rewarding the uncommon character, competence and capacity with which Hadiza Bala Usman discharged her duty to Nigeria by recently renewing her appointment as the the Head of NPA for another period of five years.
“Whilst we are not opposed to probity in governance, there appears to be a sinister and clandestine motive behind the setting up of Mr. Amaechi’s administrative panel of enquiry when there is a clear procedure to discipline erring Chief Executives of Parastatals as approved by Mr President himself in a circular dated May 2020.
“Furthermore, we are curious to ask why only our amazon, Hadiza Bala Usman was asked to step aside in an organization whose decision making is carried out by an executive management composed of a Managing Director and three (3) Executive Directors?”
CNF called on President Muhammadu Buhari to retract what it termed as; “Kangoroo” administrative panel of inquiry as constituted by the Honourable Minister, and conduct any such investigation on the Managing Director through the rule of law to uphold the principle of fair hearing, natural Justice and equity.