The Nigerian Ports Authority has denied alleged lopsided appointments in favour of the northern part of the country.
A maritime industry newspaper had recently reported that the seaport regulator had more staff of top cadre of northern extraction than the rest part of the country in an attempt to entrench northern dominance at the agency.
But the NPA in a statement by its General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams, made available to Financial Street, said the allegation was “unfounded and riddled with untruth.”
He said, “In the interest of public accountability, the management of NPA wishes to respond to reports of alleged lopsided appointment of general managers supposedly to northernise the authority.
“While stating upfront that the allegation is unfounded and riddled with untruth, the management would like to inform stakeholders and the general public that the appointment and promotion of general managers and assistant general managers are routinely guided by vacancy, exigencies, seniority, competency and strict application of Federal Character Principle in order to ensure equity and even distribution of positions in the organisation.
“General managers are usually appointed from the pool of assistant general managers who would ordinarily have been in the service of the authority for long enough to have acquired significant experience in every aspect of the NPA’s operations.
“Records at the moment, show that while some zones may have fewer representation in general manager cadre, they have higher representation in the two other most senior roles of assistant general manager and principal managers.”
According to Adams, the north has 15 general managers; the south, seven; the north has 19 assistant general managers; the south has 33.
Also, while the north has 89 principal managers, the south has 139.
“Stakeholders and the general public should also kindly note that while the General Manager, Finance is from the South-East, the offices of General Manager, Seaview and General Manager, Accounts do not exist, contrary to the reports being circulated,” the NPA explained.
The NPA also denied extending the tenure of some retired general managers in a bid to stop their “potential successors” from succeeding them.
“The two cases that were mentioned, General Manager, Human Resources Mr. Yahaya Bukar (August 2018 to August 2020) and General Manager, Engineering, Ahmed Rufai Mohammed (February 2020 to 2021) had their tenures legally extended for the specific reason of the completion of some of the very important projects that were started within the period of their services as general managers.
“This situation also applied to the immediate past General Manager, Finance, Mr. Simeon Aniobi, whose tenure was extended between October 2017 and October 2019,” NPA claimed, adding that “the management of the authority is confident to say that it is guided by principles of fairness, equity and the law of the country in all its operations.”