The Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) rolled out the drums to celebrate its 2012/2013 Long Service Award ceremony for 644 staff who had served in the Authority for over 25 years.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Kokore said that the ceremony was to recognize esteemed workers who have served at the Authority for more than 25 years.
“We have a long service award policy that aims at recognizing and demonstrating the appreciation of loyalty and commitment of long serving employees. This policy applies to all employees who have completed 25 years and above continuous paid service
“We are honouring those who worked late into the evening and early in the morning. I believe there were times of frustration and misunderstanding. You may have worked alone or in groups but you always had the support and encouragement of family and friends. Without that back-up you could not continue to do your best as you have done all these years”
Speaking at the event which held at the NPA sports ground in Lagos, Usman also noted that the long service staff played a crucial role in shaping the success story of NPA as a result of their contributions. She commended their efforts in ensuring NPA witnessed an increase in cargo throughput and increase in its revenue.
She also recalled that in 2005 before the port concession, cargo throughput at the port was barely 45millionmetric tonnes, but she noted that by 2015, it has increased to 78million metric tonnes.
“We all thank you for shaping the NPA and ensuring an improvement in the ISPS code compliance and automation of our activities. You can be assured of the Management’s efforts to continuously improve your welfare and we hope you continue to be hard working and committed” she added.
The Long Service Award ceremony had over 600 recipients as the 2012 awardees were 183, while the 2013 awardees were 481 and all the staff were given awards and gift items such as; air conditioners, deep freezers, flat screen LED television, gas cookers, etc.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Award Organizing Committee and General Manager, Human Resources of NPA, Mallam Yaya Bukar said that the NPA long service award is a yearly ceremony, but acknowledged that bureaucratic bottlenecks had prevented the award from holding in the past five years.
However, he commended the management of NPA as well as the Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman for being staff- oriented and displaying their commitment to staff welfare by organizing the award.
According to Mallan Yaya, within a short period of Usman’s arrival at the agency, NPA management has promoted five Assistant General Managers to the position of General Managers and 30 Principal Managers to Assistant General Managers.
He said that this is unparalleled and noted that it has boosted the moral of the workers, such that NPA now has more committed and dedicated workers.
Bukar assured that the payment of rents and allowances upfront for NPA staff is commencing by January 2017, saying that this is what the staff have been pursuing for the past eight years.
“This long service award was last held five years ago, it’s not because the committee is incapable of organizing the ceremony or because of lack of funds, the committee did all it could, but due to some bureaucratic bottlenecks this could not happen”
“In my brief during an executive management meeting in July, I made mention of our constraints at committee level and the MD intervened and directed that the long service award ceremony should take place in December.
Some of the recipients include; Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, GM HSE; Dr. Sunny Oby Maduka, Chief Auditor TinCan Port, Engr. Talabi Olukayode, Principal Manager Public Affairs, Mr. Isa Suwaid, Mr. Musa Iliya, Mrs Catherine Udeh, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the Senior Staff, Mr. Musa Iliya who joined NPA in 1987, commended the management for a kind gesture which had been long expected.
“We appreciate it because we know it is something that we deserve although it has taken too long. We would leave NPA with a certain degree of satisfaction to know that our efforts were appreciated. This would ensure that the recipients work harder and retire well” Iliya said.
Iliya noted that when the Managing Director had promised that there would be a Long Service Award earlier this year, most of the participants in the meeting believed that Usman was making a diplomatic statement, however he commended her for keeping her word.