Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Nigerian‎ Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, over the infrastructural decay at the agency’s Search and Rescue Coordinating Centre located at Kirikiri, Lagos.A visibly angry Amaechi equally ordered the Acting Director General of NIMASA‎, Mr. Haruna Baba Jauro to furnish his office with up-to -date financial records and all contracts signed and executed by NIMASA since 2007.
The Minister, as part of his familiarization tour of Lagos ports had earlier visited the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) where he directed strongly that cargoes must be moved out of the ports within 48 hours.‎ After checking the NIMASA resource centre; moving from one office to the other, to the surprise of the staff, the minister said it is disgraceful to note that billions of Naira had been sunk into NIMASA without any positive result. He said he was interested in knowing how many contracts have been awarded with NIMASA funds, the name of the contactor and the level of completion of such contracts.
The minister equally demanded for the nominal roll of the staff in NIMASA and their qualifications. He said that some departments are fitted with the wrong staff. Amaechi expressed shock that, NIMASA as Nigeria’s flag administrator could not boast of up-to-date search and rescue equipment‎.”I took my time to visit where they referred to me as Search and Rescue Clinic and the Acting DG was very happy to tell me that they have equipment, but all they had was stethoscope”‎”I visited the place they called lab and there was no equipment there, the place was unkempt, they had officers in Agriculture and Law in the lab‎, there was absolutely nothing inside the lab, I have told them to record it so that we can show it to Nigerians”
“The place they called restaurant was an old, dirty and unkempt place. The place they called the multi- purpose hall, go there you will see water leaking there””This means that the billions of Naira spent by NIMASA, only God knows where they are spending it, although I have not checked their records, so I cannot say if they were properly spent or not, but I can at least say that the facilities I have seen so far do not exist‎”
“If NIMASA has the responsibility for security and for rescue, then we are yet to begin, the kind of money I hear they have spent, we should at least get the equipment for the purposes of search and rescue” Amaechi said another revelation that shocked the Minister was when he was told that the lift at the rescue centre had stopped working three years ago.’ Over N100 billion is given to this agency yearly and I am yet to see how it has been spent. I am yet to see some of the projects being executed by this agency,’’ Amaechi said.
He instructed the acting director-general to forward the staff nominal roll of the agency to the Federal Ministry of Transport to know if there were vacancies that could be filled by competent people.He assured that the transport ministry under his watch will be transparent and that stakeholders should furnish his office with genuine complaints and suggestions.While speaking at an interactive session at the NIMASA headquarters in Apapa, staff of the agency charged the Minister to concentrate on buying a vessel for the agency for purpose of training.They also demanded for promotions as at when due.
Earlier, the minister also directed the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to work toward achieving 48-hour-cargo-clearance target. Amaechi gave the directive during his maiden visit to the headquarters of NPA in Lagos. He said he had promised President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigerian ports achieved 48-hour-cargo-clearance target.’ Other countries operating maritime industry are achieving 48-hour-cargo–clearance target; so, Nigeria must not be an exemption to the rule.
“I believe in transparency and hard work. We should endeavour to do what people are expecting us to do.“I will inform the public about the activities of the maritime industry to make sure you do what people will like to know,’’ he said.
In his address, the Managing Director of NPA, Malam Habib Abdullahi, said he had made tremendous efforts in the last three years in championing the affairs of Nigerian ports.`
`When we take you round the ports, you will be able to see the developments at Lagos ports. We have two of the ports in Lagos while the remaining four are outside Lagos. “NPA is one of the oldest parastatals in the country and is st ll maintaining its status and statutory obligations as directed by the Federal Government,’’ Abdullahi said. The minister also visited the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

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