By Innocent Orok
Within two weeks, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has refuted two allegations of infractions in its organisation.
Just last week, the NPA has denied a whistleblower’s allegation of the agency operating a secret Dollars denominations account in a Commercial bank in Lagos State. Just as the House of Representatives has vowed to probe the said secret account and others that maybe operated by the authority.
As the dust of the alleged secret financial deal has not settled yet, the NPA is again accused of operating a lopsided Management structure in favour of the Northern part of the Country.
According to the report, the port authority was alleged to have 15 General Managers all from the north, while only Seven are from the Southern part of the Country.
But the Management of the NPA, again yesterday defended the appointments of General Managers and other top positions in the organisation, saying there was no truth in the allegation of lopsided appointments skewed in the favour of the northern part of the Country.
According to a statement by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the authority, Engr. Jatto Adams shows that 15 officials from the Northern part of the Country occupy General Manager positions, while others from the South occupies other positions.
The statement shows that the North East has seven GMs, North West, five while, North Central has three.
In the breakdown of appointments, the whole South has seven officials at GM positions.
The breakdown further shows that four of the GMs are from the South East, two from the South West and one from the South South.
The NPA in the statement however explained thus “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 organization.
“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, shows 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”.
The statement further shows that the North Central Zone has 3 General Managers, 6 Assistant General Managers, 36 Principal Managers totaling 45. The North East has 7 GMs, 10 AGMs and 27 PMs, making a total of 44. The North West has 5 GMs, 3 AGMs and 26 PMs, totalling 34. Others are the South East with 4 GMs, 10 AGMs and 36 PMs totalling 50. South South 1GM, 10 AGMs and 43 PMs making a total of 54 and the South West 2GMs, 13 AGMs and 60PMs totalling 75. Making a grand total of 22 GMs, 52 AGMs and 228PMs which amounted to 302 Senior Management officials at NPA.
The NPA, further stressed that “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.
“On allegations that some retired General Managers have had their tenures extended on contract in order to stop their “potential successors” from succeeding them, management asserts that this is totally untrue.
“The two cases that were mentioned, General Manager, Human Resources Mr. Yahaya Bukar (Aug.2018-Aug 2020) and General Manager, Engineering, “Engr Ahmed Rufai Mohammed( Feb 2020-2021) 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 Oct 2017 and October 2019.
“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”, the statement concludes.