“I urge adherence to the rule of law and fair and equal treatment as the situation evolves”
A former President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she is disheartened about the suspension of Nigerian Ports Authority Managing Director/CEO, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sirleaf said she is appalled that an accomplished leader and dedicated public servant of Bala Usman’s stature could be suspended on account of spurious allegations.
In a her reaction to the suspension masterminded by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the ex-Liberian leader tweeted @Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (@MaEllenSirleaf) :”I am disheartened to hear about the suspension of Nigerian Ports Authority MD @hadizabalausman, who I have known to be an accomplished leader and dedicated public servant.
“I urge adherence to the rule of law and fair and equal treatment as the situation evolves.”
Persecondnews had reported that the suspension is a flagrant breach of the country’s Public Service Rules.
Bala Usman was suspended about 10 days ago on Amaechi’s recommendation to the president over alleged “under remittance” of revenue by NPA into Federal Government’s Consolidated Account, an allegation she has denied.
Mr Mohammed Koko, the Executive Director in charge of Finace and Administration in the agency, has been directed to take over in acting capacity.
Buhari had in January 2021, reappointed Usman for another five-year term just before the end of her first tenure, a development that jolted Amaechi, the supervising minister.
The suspension blatantly violates the Public Service Rules as contained in a circular dated May 19, 2020 from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Presidency.
Signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, the circular is entitled, “Approved Disciplinary Procedure Against Chief Executive Officers of Federal Government Parastatal Agencies and Departments.’’
The circular states in part:“Government has observed with concern the arbitrary removal of Chief Executive Officers and its impact on stability and service delivery.
“Accordingly, Mr President has approved the following streamlined procedure for the discipline of Chief Executive Officers of Government Parastatals, Agencies and Departments in accordance with the Public Service Rules (PSR).
“The following procedure shall therefore apply whenever a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is to be subjected to disciplinary action:
· When an act bordering on serious misconduct against a Chief Executive Officer is reported, it shall be the duty of the supervising Minister through the Permanent Secretary to refer the matter to the Governing Board for necessary action in line with the relevant provisions of the Establishment Act and the principles guiding Chapters 3 and 16 of the Public Service Rules.
· The Board shall in line with due process, issue him/her a query requesting an explanation with respect to the specific act(s) complained about;
· The Board shall forward its findings and recommendations to the Minister for further consideration and necessary action.
· The Minister, after due consideration of the submission from the Board, shall on the advice of the Permanent Secretary, forward the Ministry’s position along with the recommendations of the Board and the explanation of the Chief Executive Officer to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for processing to Mr President, for a decision.
Meanwhile, the 11-member probe panel was inaugurated on May 10.