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NIMASA staff petition FG, accuse Akpobolokemi of ‘absurd personnel management practice’

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…As Stakeholders gave Warredi clean bill of health!

Some workers of NIMASA have petitioned the Federal Government accusing their Director General, Patrick Akpobolokemi of “absurd personnel management practices”.

Captain Warredi Enisuoh

Captain Warredi Enisuoh

In a swift reaction, two industry watchers have however absolved one of those allegedly appointed; stressing that Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, a Class 1, Master Mariner as well as a Boeing aircraft pilot secured his appointment by merit.

“I am aware of the appointment of Warredi; he is absolutely competent. He was appointed, sequel to Lloyds and International Maritime Organization (IMO) audit which advised on need to beef up the agency with core professionals.

“I can recall that I met him after he gave a lecture in Washington DC on new designs for simelators” the industry watcher who spoke on condition of anonymity stated, describing Warredi as an accident civil servant!

Speaking in the same vein, another stakeholder who also spoke on condition of anonymity said Warredi did not know Akpobolokemi before getting his appointment.

“I think it was the media that got him (Warredi) his appointment”, he noted, recalling that  Warredi was a pilot with Virgins Airlines before coming to NIMASA.

“The agency lacked professionals; and I think that was why Warredi in particular was brought in”, he explained further.

Every attempt to secure the official reaction of the agency image maker, Isichei Osamgbi failed as he totally declined to answer his telephone calls.

In the petition, which was reportedly forwarded to the Minister of Transport and copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Head of Civil Services of the Federation, Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Chairman, Federal Character Commission, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Productivity, Chairman and members of NIMASA Board of Directors., the workers alleged the DG gave appointments unilaterally.

“We wish to respectfully put forward a formal complaint to you sir, as protest on the current trend in Personal Management practice introduced by the present Executive Management of NIMASA in the name of reform by its administration.

“The Personal Management Style brought into the system is alien to both Public and Private Sector Personnel Management practice in Nigeria and, perhaps, beyond.

“From 2010 when the present Executive Management assumed office Appointments, Promotions and Disciplines took a new dimension that is not only dangerous but a path of total destruction of the system.

“The new approach introduced from 2010 turned logic upside down in personnel practice.

“It is on record that the Director General conducted Personal Management as a Personal and Private Affairs where all known procedures and relevant Establishment Regulations in decision making process are set aside,” the workers’ petition read in part.

The NIMASA staff accused Akpobolokemi of carrying out questionable staff recruitments through “a phantom consultancy outfit that had no clear understanding of Personal Management Practice in Public Service with respect to guidelines on Staff Appointments, Promotions and Discipline.”

They also accused the DG of paying the “phantom consultancy” firm “a whacking sum for the job that could easily be undertaken by the Human Resources Department and Establishment Committee of the Board of Directors” of the agency.

“The Consultant merely played out a script designed to block and stagnate existing officers of the Agency on GL 08 to 17.

“All the new employments made through this consultant never took into account the availability of vacancies and the status of the staff already on various grade levels,” the aggrieved workers stated.

They accused Akpobolokemi of not only populating the agency with his kinsmen but of elevating them over and above their qualifications and years of experience. They said the current disposition of Directors in the agency “is skewed towards a particular part of the country”, in negation of the Federal Character Principle.

See below the full letter and details of staff who they claim benefited from the lopsidedness of Akpobolokemi’s management.

Maritime House.

4, Burma Road,

Apapa,

Lagos.

The Honourable Minister

Federal Ministry of Transport

BukarDipcharima House

Central Business District,

Abuja.

Dear Sir,

RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT ABSURD PERSONNAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICE BY THE EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT OF NIMASA.

We wish to respectfully put forward a formal complaint to you sir, as protest on the current trend in Personal Management practice introduced by the present Executive Management of NIMASAin the name of reform by its administration.

The Personal Management Style brought into the system is alien to both Public and Private Sector Personnel Management practice in Nigeria and, perhaps, beyond.

From 2010 when the present Executive Management assumed office Appointments, Promotions and Disciplinestook a new dimension that is not only dangerous but a path of total destruction of the system. The new approach introduced from 2010 turned logic upside down in personnel practice. It is on record that the Director General conducted Personal Management as a Personal and Private Affairswhere all known procedures and relevant Establishment Regulations in decision making process are set aside.This is evident in the following areas:

APPOINTMENT

From 2010, the Director-general carried out questionable staff recruitments through a phantom consultancy outfit that has no clear understanding of Personal Management Practice in Public Service with respect toguidelines on Staff Appointments, Promotions and Discipline. The consultancy outfit was paid a whacking sum for the job that could usually beundertaken by Human Resources Department and Establishment Committee of the Board of Directors. The Consultant merely played out a script designed to block and stagnate existing officers of the Agency on GL 08 to 17. All the new employmentsmade through this consultant never took into account the availability of vacancies and the status of the staff already on various grade levels. This could be seen from the details contained inthe staff nominal roll as analysed:

Name

Qualifications with Dates

Grade on Appt with Date

State of Origin

Zone

EnisuohWarredi Dipl (S&R) ‘2005Teaching Cert. 2005

Comm Pilot 1999GL 1616/12/13

DeltaSouth-SouthFelix Bob-NabenaBsc Bus’ 1994MBA 1998GL 1624/12/10BayelsaSouth-SouthOtonyeObomBsc. Mgt 1998PGD 2009

MBA 2009GL 166/01/14RiversSouth-SouthUdoyeVicentChibuezeAss Dip’ 1991Coc 1’ 1991

Msc 1’ 1991GL 1621/01/13ImoSouth-EastFemowei Abel GbendorOND 1989Adv. Dip. 1989GL 1621/01/13BayeslaSouth-SouthOsamgbiIsichei FridayBA 1992MLL 2005GL 1611/01/12DeltaSouth-SouthUmoren S. MichaelMBA 2008Class 1 1998GL 1621/01/14AkwaIbomSouth-SouthKenekayoroEdougha LawrenceBsc Soc 1978MPA 1992GL 1523/01/14BayelsaSouth-SouthAmakulo C. ChukwuekaM. Info Tech 2008B. Eng (E&E) 1997

GL 1511/11/12ImoSouth-EastOyadiran J. OyeniyiClass 1 Coc 2011Class 2 2002GL 1526/11/12OyoSouth-WestJames EyoOND 1987Class 1 2007GL 1530/11/12AkwaIbomSouth-SouthAbuhUgbede WilliamsOND 1987Adv Dip 2003

PGD 2011GL 152/01/13KogiNorth-CentralCpt Mohammed NazifPMTL 2009Msc 2014GL 158/01/13BauchiNorth-EastOweiErenaClass 2. 2004Class 1. 2009

HND 2003GL 151/02/13BayelsaSouth-SouthAmula Arnold EbipadeClass 2. 2005Class 1. 2008

Dip 1992GL 151/3/12BayelsaSouth-SouthGovernor Juan AmecheeHND 1991GL 154/3/13BayelsaSouth-SouthUmoOtongEkong SundayClass 1.1999Class 2.1993

Adv.Dip.1998GL 1513/3/13AkwaIbonSouth-SouthUgo Fredrick IkiomotolB.Tech 2002Msc. 2011GL/1512/2/13BayelsaSouth-SouthUbongabasiIdorenyinOND 1988Class 1.2008GL/155/11/13AkwaIbomSouth-SouthEdubioKiniyiEdetND 1994Class 1.2007GL 1526/11/13AkwaIbomSouth-SouthElei GreenIgbogiDIP 1989PGD 1996

MBA 2002GL 1501/3/12BayelsaSouth-SouthUmar Edward Bobzom(contract Appt)BSC 1989GL 1522/7/13TarabaNorth EastObowo David EgwuClass 1Gl 1512/12/13EbonyiSouth-EastElisha R. AuduHND 1987PGD 2003

MBA 2010GL 1507/01/13YobeNorth-East

Taking a closer look into the details of the newly recruited officers, one can easily see that in an ideal set up, none of the beneficiaries merited the positions given to them if based within the followings:-

  1. Entry Qualifications into Public Service
  2. Year of Graduation
  3. Stintin Public Service where applicable
  4. Federal Character Principle

On the other hand, all the career officers currently in the employment of the Agency are by qualifications and experience far above those newly employed.With these unjust actions, the career officers are either doomed to stagnate or theircareer truncated in preparation to lay them off, a policy contemplated for implementation in theSecond Quarter 2015. The details of this grand plan is clearly indicated in the staff nominal roll and is attached hereto as Annexure for guidance.

PROMOTION

The most pathetic and scandalous conduct of the Executive Management under the Director-General, as regard staff promotions is also indicated in the selective approach based on who he loves and whohe hates. Some newly employed Assistant Directors and Deputy Directors were promoted to thenext grade level barely a year or so after their assumption of office in the Agency. The strategy adopted is by piecemeal postings and periodic staff movement in acting capacity for some officers from one Department to another under the guise of repositioning exercise. After a little while (usually not up to one year), the favoured officers will be presented for confirmation to a Substantive Grade Level. The following examples suffice:

  1. 1.     EnsuohWarredi

As indicated on the above table, this officer was employed as a Deputy Director GL 16 on 01/07/2011 in the Department of Maritime safety but 6 months later was redeployed to the Shipping Development Department as Acting Director to replace a Substantive Director. Interestingly by 16/12/13, less than 2 years, he was confirmed a Substantive Director.

  1. 2.     Vincent Udoye

This officer was also recruited with effect from 21/01/2013 asDeputy Director with no qualifications and experience to earn him that position. In a similar style of impurity the officer’s appointment was claimed to be reviewed and placed on GL 17 with effect from 01/03/2015 just less than one week to a scheduled promotion interview in which he is to a schedule provocation interview in which he is to compete with career officers. We attach as Annexure to this protest the memo conveying the Decision of the Executive Management.

  1. 3.     Felix Brisbe Bob-Nabena

This officer was equally appointed as Deputy Director GL16, as SA-DG, with effect from 24/12/2010 but this was tied to the tenure of the Political Appointment of the Director General. It is also necessary to state that this officer was a mere contract staff with Shell Company and that his release from the Shell Company wasfor a period of just 4 years. It should be pointed outthat even in Shell Company; he is not permanent and pensionable employee of the company. At the expiration of his tenure and with the availability of an established vacancy for a post of Director in the Agency, he has since been redeployed to assume that office in preparation for confirmation as a Substantive Director. This move was designed for implementation despite the availability of Pool of Career Officers that is eligible to occupy that position. We also attached as Annexure, a Memo to that effect from the office of the Director General.

At this point, the Hon. Minister may interest you to note that in line with extant practice in Public Service Promotion exams are usually conducted for eligible officers from one grade level to the other. The provision of condition of service of the Agency has also clearly provided for conduct of promotion exams for officers that were eligible for promotion more especially for those on GL 08 – 17. Another round of promotion exams was scheduled for 4th March, 2015 in which this officeris NOT eligible to participate but in a clever move his appointment was swiftly reviewed and placed on the post of Director GL 17 with effect from 1st March, 2015(effective date is on Sunday). This is all in an attempt to preserve the position for him despite the fact that he is not even qualified to be placed on GL 16 on account of his qualifications and experience.

From the foregoing Personnel Management Practice, we submit hereunder the current this position of the Directors in the Agency for proper appreciation of the Magnitude of Damage done to the system.

CURRENT DEPOSITION OF DIRECTORS IN NIMASA.

 

Department

Director

GL

State of Origin

Geo Political Zone

Shipping Development EnsuohWarredi 17 Delta S/South
Maritime Labour J. A. Gunwa 17 Kogi N/Central
Maritime Safety Vincent Udoye 17 Imo S/East
Admin & Pers. Felix Bob-Nabena Acting (16) Bayelsa S/South
Procurement OtonyeObom Acting (16) Rivers S/South
Cabotage Umoren S. Michael Acting (16) AkwaIbom S/South
MEM M. B. Adewale Acting (16) Oyo S/West
Financial Services Dele Ejekukor Acting (15) Delta S/South
Legal Rita Uruakpa Acting (15) Enugu S/East

The Disposition of Heads of Autonomous Units in the Agency similarly reflects above pattern.

DISCIPLINE

The issue of Staff Disciplinary Action against erring staff has become worrisome in the sense that the Executive Management has adopted a style of humiliation against some set of staff that are allegedly perceived either being sympatheticto one Political Party or the other. In addition, staff that are eligible for promotion and been denied were always framed up with Phantom charges that are not verifiable whatsoever in order to silence them. Such allegations like late coming, divulging of corporate secrets to the Press, the National Assembly and inciting staff against the Management were the usual charges by the Director General.

In the light of the foregoing, we wish to call for the humane intervention of the Honourable Minister by investigating these and related complaints in the interest of the public service and Nigeria at large. We therefore pray:-

  • That all staff recruitment in the agency from 2010 to date should be investigated and reviewed in line with the extant practice in Public Services.
  • That the celebrated recruitment exercise carried out by a consultant, Messrs Reener and Reener at a very prohibitive cost should be thoroughly investigated.
  • That all cases of selective promotions either based on Acting Appointment Syndromeor review of appointment should be nullified and that a formal promotion exercise should be carried out through relevant Establishment Committees of the Agency.
  • That all cases of staff stagnation should be looked into by a committee whose membership should been drawn up fromNIMASA,FMOTOHCSF, CSC and FEDERAL CHARACTER COMMISSION.
  • That the commissioning of a consultant (Reener and Reener) with attendant costs whose outcome is questionable should be thoroughly investigated for the purposes of Accountability and Transparency.
  • That Appointments into GL 15 and above should not be based on political or ethnic consideration rather should be based on Career Development and Progression as practice in Public Services.
  • That the current disposition of Directors is skewed towards a particular part of the country which is negation of Federal Character Principle.
  • That in the interest of justice and fairplay, disposition of Directors in the Agency should reflect the current reality in the country.
  • That the grand design to eliminate certain section of the workforce either on ethnic or regional should not be allowed or encouraged in the Agency.
  • That Disciplinary matter should be based on prima facie cases and not as a tool of humiliation and intimidation of innocent officers who are not likeable by present Executive Management.

Accept our highest consideration please.

Yours sincerely,

Submitted by

CONCERNED STAFF of NIMASA

On behalf of the NIMASA staff.

 

Cc:

–         SGF

–         Head of Civil Services of the Federation

–         Chairman, Civil Service Commission

–         Chairman, Federal Character Commission

–         Permanent Secretary (FMOT)

–         Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Labour& Productivity)

–         Chairman, NIMASA Board of Directors

–         All Board Members of NIMASA

Additional Reports from Ships and Ports

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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