THE BUA/NPA Feud: A Tale of Two Aristocrats at Daggers Drawn

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Abdulsamad Rabiu

Discord rattles the beams and eaves of industry and high society as the Forbes-rated billionaire chairman of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu and Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, engage in a bitter dispute. The feud between the two influential figures disrupts the peace of industry, leaving it disoriented and distraught like a guava tree caught in the path of a thunderstorm.

Recently, the NPA summarily decommissioned and shut down the BUA Ports and Terminals Limited, operator of Terminal B, Rivers Port, Port Harcourt, for what it termed security and safety reasons.

But the BUA Group demurred, stating in a widely syndicated advertorial in major newspapers that the letter actually sought the agency’s permission to perform remedial works on some parts of the terminal that were vandalised.

The BUA Group wondered why anyone would think it is uninterested in developing the BUA Ports & Terminals or not interested in the safety of lives and property when it has just invested hundreds of millions of dollars in putting up flour mills, a pasta plant and a new sugar refinery in the last three years.

Now, this is where it gets interesting and curious. Indeed, the BUA Group has completed a multi-billion naira sugar refinery, a pasta plant and flour mills billed for commissioning this October and already employed 1,300 workers. However, the plan has been scuttled by what the BUA Group termed Bala-Usman’s arbitrariness and high-handedness.

At the risk of pandering to ethnic sentiments in a matter of national importance, Bala-Usman and Samad are both blue bloods from Kaduna and Kano States respectively. While her father is the revered Ahmadu Bello University historian, Yusuf Bala-Usman; Samad’s father, Khalifah Isyaku-Rabiu, was one of Nigeria’s foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s.

They have so much in common that it beggars understanding why they cannot find common ground in a matter that would hurt more Nigerians than they can imagine. Her motive is, indeed, getting more curious by the day.