*She’s victim of witch-hunt, says agent
Few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the suspension of Hadiza Usman to step aside as the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Federal Government has been urged to ensure that passionate individuals are appointed to head the agency.
Lagos State coordinator of the Nigerian Indigenous Ship Owners Association, Taiwo Akinpelumi, told Financial Street on Friday, that the appointees seemed not to have free hand to operate.
He advised that the right person be put in the right place and also allowed to work.
“The removal of Usman won’t make any difference. Who do we know that is coming to replace her?
“The government has to be consistent; if appointment has to be made, it has to be properly considered. The right people should be put in the right place and the person should be allowed to complete their term in office.”
He noted that Usman was removed and nobody knew why, as no reason as no reason was given.
The Lagos NISA boss blamed appointment of wrong persons to managerial positions for the rot in the industry.
“It is not just about technocrats coming on board; we need people that are knowledgeable about the job, who are passionate about the industry.
“When you see the rot we witness in the sector, it is because all the people that have been on board are not passionate. We need someone who is passionate. We need competent people, square pegs in square holes, because we have had cases were industry people were appointed and they didn’t do well,” he stated.
Meanwhile, a member of the Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum, Chidi Opara, argued that Usman was a victim of witch-hunt.
His words, “One would, however, not rule out the possibility of a witch-hunt, especially as the probe and suspension came Usman publicly spoke her mind about how the President was handling the security situation in the country.
“Conventionally, if an official of government is under probe, and if staying in office while the probe is ongoing would jeopardise some aspects and/or the whole probe, the official is usually asked to step aside until the conclusion of the probe.”
According to him, if the probe absolves the official, they may be asked to continue, but if not, they would be removed.
“This is most likely what is playing out in NPA at the moment,” he said.
Also, a chieftain of National Association of Government Approved Freight forwarders, Segun Musa, lauded Buhari for that move, saying it showed that the President had a listening ear.
For Musa, Usman is supposed to have been removed long before now.
“This is evidence that the President is listening to the public. Of course, she is supposed to be removed long before now.
“If you are to follow protocols of efficiency in the ports, we need a core practitioner to manage the affairs in the ports for productivity,” he said.
Condemning the appointment of politicians to manage critical sectors of the economy, he added, “What is obtainable in the maritime sector is to hire a master mariner, who is more acquainted with basics of managing ports, someone who has knowledge in the sector.
President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Tajudeen Alao, said for government to make such decision, something might have gone wrong.
He stressed the need for all to remain calm and allow the government carry on with the investigation.
He added that the decision did not in any way affect operations at the ports.
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