CACOL demands investigation into corruption allegations in NPA
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has demanded investigations into allegations of corrupt practices of inflated Airfare rates for the staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by the management so as to seek means of pulling public funds out of the treasury of the agency.
CACOL in a statement by Adegboyega Otunuga, Coordinator of Media and Publications, on behalf of the Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, indicated that over the years, the NPA has been embroiled in a number of corruption allegations, leading to the arraignment and conviction of its Chairman from 2001 to 2003, along with five (5) other board members for ‘approving contracts beyond their approval limits’. This and many other acts of impropriety have made the NPA one of the most corrupt agencies in Nigeria, latest of which is an internal memo of the Nigerian Ports Authority dated January 24, 2020, an online news medium, SaharaReporters, showing how the management of the agency had been siphoning public funds.
In the document with reference number: Ref: HQ/GM/C&SC/OP/VF/045 and addressed to the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Engr Adams Jatto, titled: Review of airfare rates (local), the management could be seen engaging in sharp practices by jerking up the current rate of local airfares astronomically. In the document, Jatto said, “The Division has observed the recent hike in prices of local tickets across the country.
“In view of the above and in order to keep abreast with reality of our times, it is hereby recommended that the rates for local flights be reviewed upwards accordingly as detailed below.”
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“Outlined on a table in the document, the NPA management proposed and approved between N180, 000 to N320, 000 for a return trip on business class depending on the state to be visited, and between N150, 000 to N290, 000 for a two-way journey on economy class subject to the route. Whereas, findings indicated that a round trip airfare anywhere in Nigeria costs between N44, 000 and N75, 000 regardless of airline and class of seat. This means that on the lowest category of airfare rates approved by the NPA management, officials of the agency would pocket N75, 000 per staff flying such trips. On the highest fares approved, officials could rake in as much as N245, 000 per staff that uses such facility. All these could run into millions, even billions of Naira of tax payers’ money at the end of the year, thus putting serious financial strain on the domestic economy,” CACOL said.
The organization added: “Considering the strategic and critical role of seaports operations in any country, we are seriously concerned about the enormity of corruption going on in the administration of ports functioning in the country. We, therefore, call on the federal government to quickly wade into ports administration with a view to sanitizing it and bring those responsible for their under-performance to book so as to serve as a deterrent while de-congesting their operations to relieve the Lagos Port Complex of undue congestion and slow pace of work. “This should lead to greater activities at Delta port, Calabar port, Rivers and Onne port for improved port efficiency and greater revenue base to the nation,” CACOL stated.