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Lull in NPA as probe, leadership crisis lingers

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NPA

Operations at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are currently in low key as allegations and counter-allegations mire the leadership position of the authority.

The Guardian observed that the management of the authority is increasing as the crisis rocking the entity is being resolved even as the probe of the suspended Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, is yet to take shape.

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The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had, on Thursday, May 6, announced the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman over an allegation of shortage in the authority’s remittance to the Federal Government’s coffer from 2016 till date.

Since the suspension, NPA has been split, a situation, which is adversely affecting their commitments to duties.

The Guardian gathered that some of the major operational policies such as the upgrade and revival of the troubled Eto platform have been on hold with many critical documents due for approval unattended to.

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Amaechi had announced that the Director, Finance and Administration, Muhammed Bello Koko, would be in acting capacity until the conclusion of the probe, which has no time frame.

Koko was said to have been seen in the office on Monday since the imbroglio started.

Insider sources told The Guardian that Koko is still studying the controversy and “does not want to be in haste” in taking any decision.

The source said: “We are worried. The entire workforce of NPA is unhappy about the situation. It is affecting the mood of everybody. We appeal for calm so that the authority can progress with its strategic policies and operations”.

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Another source said Koko has reportedly had a meeting with general managers to discuss issues of the organisation. He was said to have turned down congratulatory messages and stressed that he would not want to be regarded as the MD.

Commenting on the impasse, President, Shippers Association of Lagos, Jonathan Nicol, said: “I have always called for a thorough restructuring of our institutions and this is one of the causes of the systematic collapse of our system. If suddenly there is a situation like it, it becomes a problem because we have politicised the supposed professional entity. The absence of one person should not ground the institution. That is why we think the government should restructure all the institutions to operate as institutions and professionally.

“Of course, Bala Usman’s absence has caused a lull in the system. For instance, the Eto project has been left untouched. If it is not working, I believe the truck and cargo owners should come together to find a solution to the challenge because the government has failed in that aspect.

“They should bring the truck owners, cargo owners and shipping lines together and find solutions to traffic congestion.”

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