Port Harcourt — The refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to re-appoint Dr. Dakuku Peterside, as the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, is fair, a stakeholder has said.
This is as Dr. Bashir Jamoh, takes over as the helmsman of the agency.
But a stakeholder and Community Development Consultant, Mr Pat Obiene, pointed out the areas where the former NIMASA boss failed to include, alarming rate of unsafe coastal inland waterways, recruitment of 7000 merchant navy without recourse to indigenes of coastal communities.
Others are his failure to have engaged in townhall meetings with coastal communities, absence of NIMASA in coastlines, absent of coastguards, violent crime on the waterways, amongst others.
Obiene explained that townhall meetings within the coastal communities, would help NIMASA understand the best effective government policies or programs to safeguard the inland water ways and coastal communities.
“For example, Andoni is typical coastal community in Rivers State, where people use the coastal inland water ways to commit genocide and no NIMASA presence is felt. I thought seafarers should have a sense of maritime safety when travelling or trading? In this case it is becoming hopeless.
“I want to believe the same problem applies to the inland water ways in Maiduguri a possible reason why no matter how the Nigerian military crushes them (terrorist) they can still easily access the Nigerian borders with their alien conspirators.
“Violent crimes and unsafe water ways which NIMASA that is charged with the responsibility of maritime safety did little or nothing about under Mr Dakuku.
“Otherwise, he should have known that if NIMASA had sincerely carried out townhall meetings close to the coastal communities that are mostly affected by sea pirates and maritime crimes.
“The 7000 merchant Navy they claim to have recruited in 2019, would have come from the “good boys” hanging around the creeks of these coastal communities and inland water ways where these maritime crimes happen.
“There is also the problem of the absence of coast guards, well equipped to man along Nigeria’s coastal communities,
particularly in the Niger Delta that is acclaimed to be the largest Delta in the world.
“Maybe, Dr Dakuku Peterside needed more time and realization to lead the maritime industry in Nigeria from the grassroots. Otherwise, it worries me that Peterside a Niger Deltan cannot tell me he didn’t know there is an alarming rate of unsafe coastal inland water ways across the Delta.”
Obiene, however, scored Dr. Dakuku Peterside high in the area of bringing Nigeria into the international maritime domain and initiating change on the waiver clause, in the Cabotage Act, among others.
He also commended the former NIMASA boss for positive administrative changes within the agency, like staff training and capacity development to international standard, as well as some level of operational transparency and accountability.
“Because if you look at it closely under his administration in NIMASA, he was able to align the agency with other foremost maritime administrations in the world. He was able to promote over 300 staff members of NIMASA. After several staff and directors have been stagnated over a decade.
“Since the former DG brought the introduction of new work ethics, many can testify to the fact that professionalism has grown within the capacity of the staff and work ethics are fast changing the fortunes of the agency with better service delivery.
“The former DG was able to introduce digital Hi-Tech. The process allows stakeholders to register their vessels and transact all other transactions digitally.
“The former DG was able to initiate a gradual change of the ‘Waiver Clause’ in the Cabotage Act of 2003. The benefit now is foreign operators now allow more local labour on board the ship. While efforts are on to encourage local ship builders.”