A former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has condemned the past Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, (NPA), Hadiza Usman, for allegedly putting out false narratives in her book titled: “Stepping on Toes: My Odyssey at the Nigerian Ports Authority.”
Amaechi made this claim during the 2023 TheNiche Annual Lecture themed “Why We Stride and Slip: Leadership, Nationalism, and the Nigerian Condition,” held on Thursday in Lagos where he was a special guest.
“The lies were too many. For instance, she claimed she was not invited by the panel. I even came with the memo of the president, where the president endorsed her removal,” the 58-year-old said.
“Count one is in the question of the fact that the panel says she is guilty; count two is due to the fact that a Managing Director of NPA with an N2.5m approval limit can approve N2.8b contract with no appropriation.”
Two years ago, then-President Muhammadu Buhari asked Hadiza Usman to step aside from her role while an Administrative Panel of Inquiry, headed by Rotimi Amaechi, investigated the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Amechi insisted that Mrs Usman was guilty of the same crimes she was accusing him of and making concessions for the high and mighty in society
“Why is that document not published because prominent Nigerians are involved? She gave waivers to prominent Nigerians, which she has no power to give and these are dollars accruable to Nigeria’s economy but she was bold enough to write a book or is it a pamphlet and Nigerians are following her, launching the book, so how will Nigeria move forward?
“But let’s wait until they bring the original copy because if I give you the photocopy, you will say it is fake. I will show you the original but I won’t allow you to read it because you would see the names of those prominent Nigerians that were indicted by the panel. I would rather read the areas that concern her and leave those prominent Nigerians, they didn’t look for my trouble.
The former minister affirmed that Usman had been indicted by the panel and denied that he was purposefully behind her removal as the boss of the NPA
“For instance, she claims that she was not indicted by the panel but she was found guilty of all the 10 counts. I even came with a copy of the memo to the President in which the President endorsed her removal,” he said.
“We took the President through all the counts, including the fact that a Managing Director of NPA with an N2.5m approval limit can approve an N2.8bn contract. No appropriation, including the fact that even if I were to approve despite the lack of appropriation, you are overpriced by N58m so tell them to refund the difference, having awarded the contract.
‘Nigerians Don’t React To Anything’
Amech also lamented the docile nature of Nigerians in fighting for the right form of governance
“What is new to say, Nigerians don’t react to anything. Has any politician told you he is not a thief? Which politician told you he went to university, which politician told you she served in NYSC, and which politician told you he has his certificate?
“Nigerians know and still vote for them, so what is your problem? I say why should I speak when already there’s nothing new
“Nigerians choose who to believe and who not to believe, Nigerians choose who to vote and who not to vote. Even if you come to a Nigerian man’s house and kill his mother, the father will continue his life. Nothing bothers you, nothing, so why should I waste my time?
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.