After a long wait for the appointment of a substantive Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), President Mohammed Buhari may have appointed Barr. Hon. Emmanuel Jime as the new Director General, raising worries on the kind of change the Federal Government wants in the maritime industry.
While Jime’s appointment has not been confirmed officially, presidency sources who spoke with MMS Plus yesterday denied knowledge of the appointment, even as Jime equally acknowledged that he had not been given any appointment letter to that effect. However, the letter could be issued before this week runs out as the social media is awash with the news of Jime’s touted appointment.
However, President Buhari would have breached the NIMASA Act on appointment of Director-Generals in NIMASA if Jime’s appointment is finally confirmed, a situation that will pitch the federal government against the operators who have severally identified appointment of political appointees as the biggest problem of the industry.
NIMASA Act 2007 stipulates that only persons with relevant experience and expertise in ten specified areas can occupy the position of a Director General or be appointed into the board of NIMASA. They are: Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, Maritime Pollution, Nautical Sciences and Hydrography, Maritime Engineering, Finance, Marine Law, Transport Logistics, Administration and Marine Labour.
However, Jime is simply a Politician and Lawyer, without a defined area of specialization, having been the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly between 1992 and 1993; and a former House of Representative member between 2007 and 2015, where he represented Makurdi and Guma Federal Constituency.
Born June 20, 1962, he read Law at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.
He contested the Benue state gubernatorial election and was famously known as the winner of the botched All Progressive Congress (APC) primaries in December, 2014.
Aggrieved at the outcome of the election, he sought justice but was later embroiled in a signature forgery scandal after which he agreed to settle out of court with Gov. Samuel Ortom whose emergence as the party’s gubernatorial candidate he challenged.
APC was to lose Benue state, if the case had dragged on. Consequently, Buhari called the feuding parties and settled them, with the position of DG NIMASA being Jime’s settlement. His official announcement may be made before the close of work on 3rd March, 2016.
Meanwhile, some of the maritime stakeholders who bared their minds on this development noted that if a non-professional is appointed to head any maritime agency again it shows that Buhari and the APC led government are not serious about bringing about changes in the country because they would have succeeded in doing worse things than former President Goodluck Jonathan.