The Stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime sector lament over the alleged lack of adherence to due process in the suspension of the embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman.
The stakeholders claimed that the suspension was unjustified, describing it as a setback for women inclusion in the maritime sector, adding that it could slow down the reforms made so far in the industry.
In the opinion of the stakeholders, the suspended MD should have been given fair hearing. They also urged that she should not be rubbished out of office for the political interest of an individual.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, the immediate past President of Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), Mary Hamman explained that due process ought to have been followed in the suspension of Bala-Usman as Managing Director of the NPA.
Former WISTA President said, “The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said he is not aware of what is going on in the NPA since 2016, and that’s why he set up that 11-man panel. To me, it’s good for the suspended Managing Director because if her hands are clean, she will be exonerated. If otherwise, then she will face the music.”
She also frowned at the minister’s failure to query the MD before suspension saying: “She ought to have first been queried and allowed to respond to the query. Her tenure has just been renewed , so without allowing her to know what she has done wrong and even given the opportunity to respond before suspension shows a lack of due process.”
The Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Dr. Osita Chukwu described the suspension as unjustified. He said the suspension was a ridicule on the nation’s maritime sector especially now that Nigeria is recording gains among comity of nations due to her reform processes.
Osita said “If an allegation is made, you should allow the person to defend herself rather than suspending her. This suspension is to ridicule the whole maritime sector.
“For me, it’s a very unfortunate situation. We were thinking that NPA has arrived taking cognizance of what the woman is putting in place. She has been the one making moves to reform the industry.”
According to Osita, Bala-Usman continued with her work despite several intimidations. He opined that there would be setback to the reforms at the Ports Authority if the MD is just pushed out like that.
Also speaking on the issue, the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Increase Uche, said removal of Bala-Usman was a setback to campaign for women inclusion in government and particularly in the maritime industry.