The minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi has directed the Director of Finance of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to furnish him with records of all the contracts awarded from the inception of NIMASA.
Amaechi lamented that the hundreds of billions that NIMASA had spent since inception didn’t reflect in their infrastructure and he insisted that he wanted to know the contractors, how much they had been paid and the level of completion of the contracts as he plans to run open and transparent ministry of Transportation.
“I have directed the Director of Finance to furnish me with all the records of contracts awarded by NIMASA since inception because the hundreds of billions that NIMASA has spent only God knows where they have spent it. I’m saying that because I haven’t seen where they spent such money, maybe they are yet to show me, hence I can’t say whether the money has been properly spent or not. The facilities I have seen so far do not exist and if NIMASA has the responsibility for security, protection including search and rescue, then we are yet to begin. The kind of money I hear they have spent I enough to get the equipments, except the equipments are probably in the water”, he said.
The minister started his tour at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) before visiting the National Maritime Development Resource Centre, the NIMASA Search and Rescue, NIMASA Information centre, Apapa and Tincan ports, APM Terminals Apapa, NIMASA headquarters, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
Amaechi demanded to be furnished with the nominal role of all the staff of the agency as he intends to know their qualifications as well as their functions and relevance to the agency.
He disclosed that the purpose of his tour was to go round certain places to see them, hear from the workers, study what was going on and then go back to the office to take decisions, although he was unimpressed at the shambolic state of the National Maritime Development Resource Centre, the NIMASA Search and Rescue as well as their Information centre.
“I can’t say much about what we saw in NPA because seeing from far one can be made to believe all is working fine so I need more expertise to know whether things are working there or not. What I saw in NIMASA is a No! No! No! No! You have a wonderful building as your headquarters but when we went to the Resource centre, there is nothing about resource in that centre. I went to the library and the DG and the librarian could confirm that the books there were obsolete books and only about four chairs were there. Absolutely nothing, naked electricity wires and in the place called laboratory there were no equipments”, he lamented.
Amaechi also accused NIMASA of sponsoring the reports that he was going to probe the MAN Oron rector as he had only stressed that the N19billion received by the late rector was too much for him not to have built a standard university.
He disclosed that developing the Maritime University at Okerenkoko will have to wait a while as the status of Maritime Academy of Nigeria will have to be significantly improved before more emphasis will be laid on the new university.
“We should know that this country is ours. With the amount of money they have spent in NIMASA, it’s enough to get these things working or at least get the tools we are going to work with. I have told the Ag. DG that since I became the minister of Transportation, if 50 people call me for jobs about 49 want me to fix them in NIMASA and only one would love to work with NPA and none wants to work with me in the ministry of Transport. When I asked why they wanted NIMASA, their response is always the same as they say there is money in NIMASA”, he added.
By Kenneth Jukpor