More than three months after President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the reinstatement of General Manager (Audit and Compliance) of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Nigeria Limited (NDPHC), Mrs. Maryam Danna Mohammed; the Offices of the Vice President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chief of Staff (COS) to the President are yet to comply with the directive.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the Chairman of the board of NDPHC which is incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act as a private limited liability company. Members of the board include six governors of the six geo-political zones in the country and four ministers-Finance, Power, Petroleum and Justice.
The female general manager from Borno State was wrongly sacked with the former Managing Director and Executive Directors of NDPHC on June 10, 2016, via a letter by the SGF, Babachir David Lawal.
While an aide to the vice president replaced the former Managing Director, only Mrs. Mohammed, was singled out for disengagement out of the 13 general managers in the agency.
Following a June 28, 2016, letter of appeal, President Muhammad Buhari had asked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), to look into the case, the law establishing NDPHC and provide a legal opinion.
The AGF discovered that the disengagement of Mrs. Mohammed was in error because she was a career public officer and not a political appointee or contract staff.
The president thereafter approved the reinstatement of the GM, who was erroneously included in the sack list for “being a strict auditor.”
The AGF’s letter to the SGF said in part: “Please refer to your letter, reference No. SH/COS/03/1/A/15, and our response ref. No. MJ/DSD/SH/22/Vol.1/38 dated September 7 on the above subject matter.
“In this connection, I wish to convey to you the president’s approval vide a meeting with the AGF on October 12, 2016, for the reinstatement of the staff (petitioner), Mrs. Maryam Danna Mohammed. Please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.”
The reinstatement letter was sent to the Chief of Staff to the president and copied to the SGF.
Findings by the economic confidential, however, confirmed that another officer had replaced the disengaged general manager even when she was never found wanting. The last paragraph of the Letter of her disengagement even commended and appreciated her service to the nation.
Mrs. Mohammed is a Chartered Account from Borno State and had risen from the position of Auditor at the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1992 to General Manager, Audit and Compliance at NDPHC in 2011. She has various professional qualifications including membership of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (FCIT) among others.
Meanwhile, it is suspected that Mrs. Mohammed who is widely known as a due process advocate and disciplinarian, might have been persecuted by some persons close to powerful officials in government who might have felt aggrieved with some of her tough decisions while she was the auditor in the office. It is gathered that the Special Adviser to the Vice-President who was appointed Managing Director of the company was at one time a staff of one of the contractors to NDPHC. Similarly, there is also a case of a former Executive Director in NDPHC who never served in NYSC programme but is currently serving as a permanent secretary in a powerful federal ministry with supervisory role on NDPHC.