22 April 2013, Lagos – Tension and uncertainty now pervades the corridors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, following an invitation extended to the Director General of the agency Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and the Federal Character Commission, FCC.
The director general is expected to explain the appointments, retirements and employment of personnel with the agency since 2011 when he took over the leadership of the agency.
The sudden retirement of four directors whose severance package range between N75 million and N200 million, and impending retirement of another set of deputy directors of the agency appears to have set off the inquest.
Already, the Senate Committee on Marine Transport headed by Hajia Zainab Kure is said to be investigating the development.
Trouble started when the Director General of the agency reportedly asked some serving Directors to proceed on their retirement leave even though they were not due to go.
The affected Directors were offered a package that was later referred to as a ‘Golden hand Shake’, meaning that they will get three times their severance package if they accept the offer and leave.
Investigations revealed that the first set of four director wrote back to management to know what they will get if they decide to take the offer and the management wrote back to tell them that they will get three times their severance package if they retire voluntarily.
The first set of Directors who took up the offer to retire got between N75million and N150million.
Meanwhile, the second set of deputy directors have also been offered the same ‘Golden hand shake’ provided they take voluntary retirement before their due date.
The move by management to coax these category of staff of NIMASA to retire before their time boomeranged and some of the affected officers petitioned some agencies of government on the happenings in the agency, a development that led to the Director General being summoned.
A letter from the Senate Committee specifically requested that the Director General furnished the Committee with documents on promotion, appointments, retirement and employment.
Some of the affected personnel who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that retiring this category of officers from the system will amount to a huge waste on the part of government having spent resources on training and manpower development.