Hadiza Bala Usman is fighting to keep his post as chief executive of the Nigerian Ports Authority after President Muhammadu Buhari approved his suspension, senior government officials familiar with the development have said.
The suspension was approved by Mr Buhari on Tuesday, but that action was not disclosed until Thursday evening amid high-level efforts to ensure the decision is overturned.
The NPA’s executive director of finance and administration, Mohammed Bello-Koko, has been appointed to lead the organization on an interim basis.
“The suspension has been approved by the President, but it could be rescinded in the days to come as prominent figures make efforts to ensure that she remains in office and the suspension is canceled,” he said. declared to PREMIUM TIMES a manager familiar with the subject. Thursday, asking not to be named for lack of authority to speak to the press.
The official said the suspension should allow an investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing against Ms Usman to proceed unhindered.
The investigation is at the initiative of the ministry responsible for transport, headed by Rotimi Amaechi.
The official did not disclose the exact details of the allegations against Ms Usman who received praise for the reforms she introduced to the NPA and for resisting some powerful interests in the maritime industry.
Ms Usman was reappointed to continue leading the NPA in January by Mr Buhari several months before the end of his first term.
Among those reportedly working to save Ms. Usman are the president’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari; a former head of state and a former defense minister, who would work to resolve the impasse between Ms. Usman and the minister.
“Yes, the suspension has been approved,” another official confirmed, also asking not to be named and declining to give details.
The transport ministry has not officially confirmed the development, but an official said a statement will be “released in the next few moments.”
If an official statement is made, Ms. Usman may have lost the battle to overturn the suspension.
Ms Usman did not answer calls made to her phone for comment for this report. She also did not reply to a message.
Spokesmen for President Buhari, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, were also unavailable for comment on Thursday evening as repeated calls on their phones went unanswered.
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