Search for the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has began by the presidency, with professionalism, experience, competence and credibility as some of the criteria listed.
The presidency, MMS Plus, gathered is irked by the bad-blood, corruption and show of incompetence displayed by the leadership of the sacked Director – General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, and of late, the in-fighting that followed the selection of an Acting Director-General after the exit of Akpos.
Already, names are being thrown up for consideration, while the confusion in NIMASA over who becomes the Acting DG, took a sharp twist last week, with the Executive Director, Finance and Administration , Mr. Baba Jauro, upstaging Barr. Callistus Obi, Executive Director, Cabotage and Maritime Labour Services, who had held the mantle for three days. Names of possible candidates will be periscoped next week by MMS Plus.
It was a contest of might, ethnicism and money language that threw NIMASA into a theatre of the absurb with workers divided along ethnic and benefit lines.
Obi had become the Acting DG on the strength of a letter from the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Mallam Muhammed Bashir, but Jauro claimed to have got his letter of authority from the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, which is presumed to have superseded that of the Perm. Sec. Apart from money that exchanged hands, the HOS hails from Taraba State, the same geo-political zone with Jauro who is from Yobe State. It was gathered that this played a role in the game of lobby.
The oddity observed by stakeholders is that the letter from Perm. Sec. should have been the strength on which the HOS should have issued a letter, and not issuing a different letter to another person without consulting the Perm. Sec. or notifying the agency. As at the time Jauro claimed to have got a letter from HOS, neither the Perm. Sec. nor the agency was notified. However, MMS Plus gathered that it was a coup of the highest bidder.
According to the press statement sent by NIMASA, “his appointment was communicated through a letter issued by the Federal Ministry of Transport. He takes over from Barr. Obi who hitherto was the Acting Director – General.”
An Accountant by profession, Jauro holds Higher National Diploma in Accounting from Kaduna Polytechnic as well as a post Graduate Diploma and an MBA both from the University of Maiduguri.
Meanwhile, Maritime stakeholders have expressed disappointment over how the Federal Government handled the appointment of the Acting Director General for NIMASA, calling for the sack of all the EDs in NIMASA as they are political appointees.
In a press statement by the League of Maritime Editors, they called on President Mohammed Buhari to “abolish the position, a political position that has helped in entrenching corruption and conflict in the system.”
The statement signed by their president Mr. Ovie Edomi, added, “we call for the appointment of a NIMASA groomed director general who understands the focus of the agency, a qualified and trained maritime professional as none of the serving EDs is qualified to become a Director General by the provisions of NIMASA Act. By morals and professional standards, they are not qualified. All of them are as corrupt as the deposed head of the institution because they were all accessory to the alleged mega frauds in the agency.
“What has continued to beat the imagination of the members of League of Maritime Editors is that Jauro, who has been made the Acting Director General refused to approve the payment of the agency indebtedness to the maritime media for their legitimate services rendered on contractual terms, worth less than N30 million, for over one year now, even after he had directed, against the law of contract and due process, that the amounts be slashed for no reason order than that he wanted to incite the media against Akpobolokemi.
“However, he approved, released and supervised the sum of N2.4billion from the agency treasury on two different occasions in a space of 30 days for Cabotage Sensitization Seminar and Seafarers’ day Celebration. N1.3billion and N1.1billion were withdrawn on 25th June, 2015 and 8th July, 2015, respectively, for events not worth more than N50 million in all,” the League asserted.
“This is one out of many cases of fraudulent withdrawals under the watch of Jauro as the Executive Director, Finance and Administration. Therefore, all the EDs deserve to be sacked and probed alongside Akpobolokemi”, the release added.
Also, “the nations’s maritime potentials have the capacity to generate three times what the nation derives from oil with an estimated revenue of over N16 trillion but NIMASA has done very little to develop this.”
Another commentator who is a Maritime stakeholder and works in NIMASA, said: “It was a big mistake to have appointed Jauro to act, it is a misnomer for Jauro as ED F&A, no matter the argument about seniority, to be appointed as Acting Director – General. By that appointment, the government has inadvertently given him a blank cheque to commit fraud as there will be “no checks and balances” in financial and administration matters.
“In a normal setting, hardly would any director in charge of administration and finance be asked to act. Jauro frustrates staff legitimate entitlements. His appointment as Acting Director-General is a sure way to the destruction of the agency and by extension the maritime sector. Besides, he has no knowledge of the maritime industry. This is a dreadful mistake by government. The sooner the government searches for a credible professional to head the agency the earlier the damages already done and continue to be done could be ameliorated, “he added.