- APR gets vote of no confidence
- Double impress accounts brew trouble in NIMASA
- Deputy APR planned switch causes bad-blood
Nigeria is on the move again to fail the election into the category ‘C’ of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) 40 members Council, strong indications have shown.
MMS Plus gathered that in-house squabbles in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety(NIMASA), alleged weak representation at the IMO are some of the factors that have placed Nigeria on the disadvantage list.
With the trend of developments, not even chairmanship of the Association of African Maritime Administration(AAMA) ceded to Nigeria during the last annual conference can guarantee Nigeria’s re-election.
Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) to IMO, Mr. Dikko Bala is alleged some members of NIMASA staff not to have understood the technicalities of the IMO proceedings and political diplomacy that can help Nigeria scale the huddles of the forthcoming election.
While Bala was sent to London as APR from NIMASA, his deputy came from the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) but MMS Plus heard that there is a plan to replace his deputy with one Mr. Buala Williams from the PortHarcout office of NIMASA, a development that has created and could create more bad –blood between the agencies and within Federal Ministry of Transport where the plot is taking place. Already, ethnic interpretation has been accorded it with some aggrieved persons asking why the APR and his deputy should come from the North.
Surprisingly, our findings revealed that the management of NPA may not have been apprised of the unfolding development as their official reaction to the issue indicated that they were not aware. “Yes, the Deputy APR is from NPA but we are not aware of any plan to change him”, the voice noted.
Also, some members of NIMASA staff have called for the audit of the office of the APR for alleged impress scandal, while calling for the closure of the NIMASA London office said to be an illegal entity in London
NIMASA has a seven-storey building in South- East London, funded and maintained with 18,000 Pounds(N7.1million) monthly , while the office of the APR collects 50,000 Pounds(N20million) monthly as impress account.
“There is need for forensic audit in London. One office is running two impress accounts”, a source said.
However, there has not been any official reaction to our inquiry on this, except an agitated member of the management staff who said,” it is not true. We only have one impress account of 50,000 Pounds monthly and it has been the practice from the days of Mr. Williams Azu and Ibrahim Olugbade as the APRs”.
But our sources insisted that there are two impress accounts and emphasized the need and urgency for a comprehensive forensic audit of the London office of NIMASA.
Nigeria is positioning to re-launch itself into the category ‘C’ of the IMO Council come December, 2017 in London at the organisation’s General Assembly. The Executive Director, Finance and Administration, NIMASA, Mr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh said at the venue of the AAMA conference in Abuja that the election of the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside as the chairman of AAMA would help to shore up Nigeria’s chances at the IMO council election this year.
He was optimistic that member African nations would support Nigeria but MMS plus findings have shown that most of the African country brothers cannot vote and be voted for. They only come to warm seats at the meeting and leave, besides not many of the AAMA members attend the council meetings.
Meanwhile, for the first time, this year the 171- member IMO will be conducting elections into the category ‘B’ of the Council. Diplomatic sources said that there are no differences in real terms among the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories. But the important thing is for Nigeria to return to the ‘C ‘category so that it can be part of the global decision making process in shipping.
However, many Nigerians have still not seen the benefits of the IMO council membership, arguing that if there are benefits the maritime industry would have benefitted from it when Nigeria was a member.
It was this doubt that prompted the former Director –General of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi to declare that it was unnecessary.