NIMASA is as terrible as Kirikiri prison – Amaechi

After more than nine months in office the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, is yet to figure out what the Nigeria Maritime and Security Agency (NIMASA) -a prominent agency under him- does.

Amaechi stated this when he received the ministerial committee on NIMASA for restructuring and effective performance led by the Director-General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside in Abuja.

The minister said that he has no knowledge of what NIMASA actually does but he will order for the audit of the agency so he will know.

Amaechi said, “Let me thank the committee; it’s almost two months since you were inaugurated.

“Let me also thank those of you in the private sector, for those of you who took your time, your energy, I must thank you in the manner that would show the appreciation of the Federal Government and the Ministry of Transportation for accepting to serve.

“One of the reasons why I set up the committee was my visit to NIMASA. I asked a question, what does NIMASA do? They had what they call ‘Search and Rescue Centre’, they also had what they call ‘Search and Rescue Clinic’.

“If you go there, even when I asked the lady doctor who was there, I said do you work here. She said yes, and I asked again, do you like this place? She said no. Now, all the billions we hear, maybe its right, maybe its wrong, that’s what I need to know when the auditor goes round.

“We are in the process of appointing an auditor to audit NIMASA, NPA. Maybe when the auditor goes round and comes back, the responsibility of the matter will be clearer.”

Amaechi further compared NIMASA to Kirikiri.

“If you go to their office near Kirikiri, that’s worse. It was actually as if you are in Kirikiri itself. They had a resource centre and there was nothing there, they had a poor library and I said to myself what is NIMASA actually all about?

“So the essence of setting up this committee was to actually know what NIMASA was all about. It is not to witch-hunt anybody. We should ask ourselves the question, has NIMASA at any point in time discharged its responsibility beyond collection of revenue? And all those revenue that NIMASA has collected where are they? What did they do with the revenue?

“Ordinarily, my usual reaction was to go and implement the report but I want to study it myself to know what actually NIMASA is all about, then I can call a management meeting of the Ministry of Transportation so we can take a decision so that the Director General of NIMASA will go and implement.”

On his part, the DG of NIMASA, Peterside stated, “In Singapore, in Malaysia, in Malta, in Liberia and in several other maritime administration. We had discussions with those who work in NIMASA, we also had series of engagement with stakeholders.

“After this diligent work we came to the conclusion that in your humble determination to bring about change in NIMASA, a few necessary changes must be made; those changes are inevitable”.

“The committee you inaugurated sub-divided itself into three focus areas. First is governance structure for NIMASA, the other one is the issue of image and perception, the third one is the core functions of NIMASA viz a viz manpower and staffing inadequacies.”

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