June 8, 2023

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The panel of enquiry on NPA Mgt. performance swings into action

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Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, CMS, Lagos

The eleven-man administrative panel of enquiry constituted by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has been mandated to conduct critical examination of how the nation’s sea port superintended by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has been managed since 2016, when the suspended Managing Director, Ms Hadza Usman, assumed office as the Chief Executive Officer, to date.

At the inauguration of the committee headed by Mr. Suleiman Auwalu, Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transport, the minister said the committee was not mandated to conduct financial audit of the NPA, but to scrutinize the modus operandi employed by its management if it was in consonance with the Civil Service Regulations, CSR, the Public Service General Order, G.O., and other extant laws guiding government owned enterprises.

The Minister added that there was no deadline for the committee but to painstakingly comb various bilateral contractual agreement the NPA entered into and identify those that are profitable and those that could be liability or drain pipe and submit their findings.

He reminded the committee that whatever they present as report from the exercise is what will be passed to the President whenever the deem it is satisfied with itself to have done a thorough job for the growth and development of the country.

Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Transport Minister

Amaechi expressed surprise at the outburst of members of the public when the President directed the suspension of the NPA helmswoman for the administrative enquiry to take place without fear or favour. He reminded industry stakeholders and the general public that nobody had been interdicted.

He however asked if it was bad to ask, as a Minister whose ministry was to perform oversight function over the agency did not have any inkling of what transpired in the agency for about five years now?

The Minister however said, “the president agrees with me that it’s my responsibility as minister to find out what is going on. It worries me that people are saying we should not ask questions. Nobody has been indicted. It is just. Can we know what is going on in NPA? That’s the question. If everything is right, why do we have to bother at the end of the day?” he retorted

He said no ill was intended by the administrative enquiry as it was an exercise to ensure one of the major revenue points for the federal government operates with the utmost caution to actualize maximum return from the trillions of investments in the maritime economy.

Hon Rotimi Amaechi, announced among other things, the followings as the terms of reference of the committee;
• “Examine and investigate compliance with communication channel, as obtained in the public service. Examine and investigate the procurement of contracts from 2016 to date”.

Ms Hadiza Usman, Managing Director, (on suspension) Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA

• “Examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of other contracts of NPA and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts, court ruling and presidential directives”.

• “Examine and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by NPA’s Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Usman and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 to date”.

• “Come up with suggestions and advice that would strengthen the operations of NPA and forestall such occurrences in future as well as any other matter that may be necessary in the course of the assignment”.

Rotimi Amaechi appealed to various interest groups and the general public to calm down and “allow the committee to do their job. Then, we will come out with a report, which we will avail to the public after it is being passed to the President”, he said.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, said what the ministry had done by constituting administrative panel of enquiry was quite in order.

She said as a Senator and a former Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, the request for an update on the performance of the management of NPA was within the purview of the ministry.

Hence, she appealed to stakeholders and the general public to hatch their sword for the committee not to be distracted in order to come up with excellent report.

The eleven-man committee was inaugurated last Monday, 10th May 2021 and the seating proper to set down its processes and procedures to deliver on its mandate will be flagged of today by its Chairman, Mr. Suleiman Auwalu, at the board room of the Bukar Dipcharima House, the corporate headquarters of the Ministry of Transportation, Abuja.

The Committee Chairman, Suleiman Auwalu, pledged that his committee will work assiduously to deliver on the terms of reference given to them and prayed for the guidance of the almighty God to deliver the assignment with fairness and with the fear of God.

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