- As investigators say ‘Ex-NIMASA DG built hotel with agency’s funds’
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has called on well-meaning Nigerians, particularly those in litoral States to champion the protection of the marine environment, stressing that a cleaner marine environment has a lot of positive socio-economic impact on human existence.
Peterside stated this in commemoration of this year’s World Ocean Day, commending this year’s theme which is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” while emphasizing the existence of harmful plastics and it’s dangerous effect on water bodies, given the wanton deposition of plastics and plastic materials in the nation’s water.
“We join the rest of the world in the efforts to promote the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity and the cultural heritage of the ocean” the DG said, adding, “the marine environment that covers about 70% of the earth’s surface is essential for food security, health and survival of life and is a critical part of the biosphere.
“The official designation of World Ocean Day therefore is an opportunity for us to raise awareness on the current global challenges to the ocean”, he stated, tasking all Nigerians to help save the ocean by ensuring that waterways are free of debris and every kind of pollution that poses dangers to the sea and its inhabitants.
The management and protection of Nigeria’s marine environment from activities inimical to its eco balance is one of the key functions of NIMASA which mandate is executed through several international conventions and protocols as ratified by the Federal Government.
It would further be noted that Nigeria’s commitment to full enforcement of the MARPOL ‘73/’78 Convention, London Convention ‘72 and the London Protocol ‘96 as well as BALLAST WATER 2004 is unwavering.
The World Ocean Day usually celebrated on the 8th of June of every year seeks to raise awareness for the protection and conservation of the marine environment from litters and other harmful practices.
In the meantime, a former acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi, allegedly built a hotel in Asaba, the Delta State capital, using the agency’s funds, the Federal High Court in Lagos heard yesterday.
He and three companies – Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited were arraigned on eight counts of converting N378,810,000 from NIMASA.
Obi, a former NIMASA Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Service, took over from Patrick Akpobolokemi, who is facing six separate fraud and theft charges.
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigator Orji Chukwuma said the defendant used NIMASA’s funds to build a hotel.
He said the money was taken from an account opened for NIMASA’s Technical Ratification Committee on Maritime Labour Congress.
Chukwuma said N10million was paid to Seastroke International Ltd which was developing the hotel for Obi.
He said Obi also gave N1million to St Mary’s Catholic Church, Okija in Anambra State, but the purpose was not disclosed.
According to the Witness, Obi personally received N200,000 from the account on February 12, 2014.
The EFCC investigator said a company, Knight and Sheriff, was paid N10million. He said the company’s account was operated by Obi’s special adviser.
Chukwuma said the two companies NIMASA’s funds were paid to never had any business dealing with the agency.
The witness said Obi made several payments to different individuals, including to his wife, using NIMASA’s funds.
Obi had pleaded not guilty to the charge at his arraignment.
Additional report from Nation