Operators in the Nigerian maritime industry have urged the federal government to follow due process in the suspension and probe of the embattled Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman.
Speaking during a briefing, they insisted that the Ministry of Transportation could not be the prosecutor and the judge in its own court.
The immediate past President of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Mary Hamman, said although she was not against the suspension and investigation, due process was required.
Hamman said, "The Minister of Transportation said he is not aware of what is going on in the NPA since 2016, and that's why he set up that 11-man panel. The only aspect I frown at is her not being queried before getting suspended."
The Coordinator of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders (SNFF), Dr Osita Chukwu, on his part, said the suspension of the MD of NPA was unjustifiable.
Dr Chukwu said, "If an allegation is made, you should allow the person to defend herself rather than suspending her. This suspension is to ridicule the whole maritime sector. She has been the one making moves to reform the industry."
Also, the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Increase Uche, said, "We pray that it is for good. We pray that she did not commit any crime. The industry needs to be rejigged to improve maritime operations."
He urged Mohammed Bello-Koko, the acting MD of NPA, to swing into action to ensure that the reforms being championed by the erstwhile MD were sustained.