“I have gone round this place, your environment and offices are dirty. The tap at the back of this hall is leaking and some of your offices are manned by unqualified people. We have heard so much about NIMASA and how you are said to be very rich and spending billions of Nigeria. What have you been doing with the money? Over N100b is given to this agency annually and I am yet to see how it has been spent.
“There is nothing to show that you doing safety here. Maybe I will see them when you take me to sea. There is nothing in your medical centre. I asked the doctor there if the place is equipped, what he told me was that they provided basic equipment for him. I probed further to know what he meant by basic equipment and all he showed me is the stethoscope. You don’t need to be a medical doctor to buy the stethoscope, anyone can buy it but only a medical person can use it.
“I entered the lab here and whole place is dirty and dusty and rusty. I asked the officer in the lab about his qualification, he told me, he read agriculture.
“I want to know how much you have collected since inception of NIMASA; how much you have paid into the federation account; how many contracts awarded so far and the extent of payments made. I also want a list of all your staff with their qualifications and duties, I mean all your employees including some of the cleaners I saw today.
“This government will be transparent and fair to all. This is the more reason I want journalists to be following me into all the areas we are inspecting together, so they can report to Nigerians what we are seeing here.
“When I was Rivers Governor, I operated transparently; there was no secret between me and any of my commissioners that was unknown to other cabinet members. There will be transparency with this government.”
That was Transportation Minister RotimiAmaechi on December 14, 2015, expressing angst before the then management of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) over the poor state and lack of professional handling of its facilities at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Centre (NMRC) at Kirikiri, Lagos State, South-West Nigeria.
That was a hefty vote of no confidence on both the then NIMASA management and the NMRC from the blunt-talking Amaechi.
Fast-forward to last week, and Sidelines witnessed yet another vote of no confidence on the NMRC, but this time coming from the incumbent NIMASA management headed by Amaechi’s acolyte, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, as Director-General.
While www.maritimematters.com.ng is going ahead to get the official position of NIMASA on the matter, Sidelines concludes that, months after his appointment, Peterside must have done little or nothing to improve on the lamentable state of the NMRC, for the complex to have lain fallow while Nigeria’s apex regulatory organ chose a tearoom at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos for a five-day training programme tagged “train the trainer” it facilitated in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code compliance.
Sidelines is wondering just how much the programme, which ran from August 29 to September 2, 2016, cost, when it could have better been held at the expansive NMRC, with its proximity to the ports for hands-on practicals?