The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has come under scrutiny as its Director-General, Mr. Bashir Jamoh, faces allegations of violating the Civil Service rules. The accusations raise concerns about the governance and practices within the agency.
According to investigations, NIMASA which has about 12 substantive Directors is having only three as heads of Department while the others are merely kept as heads of units, contrary to the civil service regulations.
The departments in NIMASA are Cabotage Services, Maritime Labour Services, Administration and Human Resources, Financial Services as well as Planning, Research and Data Management Services.
The others are Maritime Safety and Seafarers’ Standard, Shipping Development, Marine Environment Management and Legal Services/Board Secretariat.
It was learnt that the Deputy Directors in charge of the six “juicy” departments in the agency are Hamisu Gambo (Administration and Human Resources), Abdullahi Mustapha (Financial Services), Danjuma Babah (Procurement), Khurason Inuwa (Shipping Development), Aliyu Lawan (Maritime Labour Services) and Taiwo Olaniyan (Maritime Safety & Seafarers Standards).
From the list, it clearly showed that five of the six Deputy Directors are Northerners with only Olaniyan, who is from the Southern part of the country. This is just as three of the five Deputy Directors of Northern origin hail from Kaduna State, where the Director General is also from.
They are Hamisu Gambo (Administration and Human Resources), Danjuma Babah (Procurement) and Khurason Inuwa (Shipping Development).
The 12 substantive Directors in NIMASA are Rita Uruakpa, Kabir Murnai, Aisha Jidda, Kehinde Bolaji, Heaky Dimowo, Isichei Osamgbi, Otonye Obom, Chris Amakulo, Sunday Umoren, Olamide Odusanya, Olubusola Akande-Obasanjo and Eric Oji.
However, only three of the Directors are heads of departments. These are Rita Uruakpa (Cabotage Services), Heaky Dimowo (Marine Environment Management) and Eric Oji (Planning Research & Data Management Services).
It was also gathered that the nine remaining Directors, apart from Sunday Umoren, who has been seconded to the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control as Secretary General, are made to head units which are ordinarily expected to be headed by Deputy Directors or Assistant Directors.
The Directors heading units are Olamide Odusanya (Internal Audit), Chris Amakulo (Data Management), Aisha Jidda (Reforms Coordination & Strategic Management), Isichei Osamgbi (Special Duties, External Relations & Technical Cooperation), Otonye Obom (Deep Blue), Olubusola Akande-Obasanjo (Western Zone Maritime Labour Services), Kehinde Bolaji (Servicom) and Kabir Murnai (Western Zone).
The case of Olubusola Akande-Obasanjo, who is the Western Zone Director of Maritime Labour Services is particularly curious because her position means she has to report to the Head of Maritime Labour Services Department, Aliyu Lawan who is a Deputy Director and her junior.
Also, the case of Chris Amakulo, who is a Director in the Data Management Services Department is also serving under a fellow Director, Eric Oji.
Some officials of the agency consider Akande-Obasanjo and Murnai’s posting to a Zonal Office as vindictive since Directors of NIMASA normally serve at the headquarters.
“It is a shame that heads of departments have their seniors serving under them. I wish the government will beam its searchlight on the activities of the agency under the present Director General,” an Assistant Director said.
The imposition of Deputy Directors as heads of departments is already taking a toll on the agency.
For instance, the Senior Staff Committee, which is the body of Directors responsible for overseeing issues affecting officers from Level 8 to Level 15, has not been able to meet for over eight months.
This is because Hamisu Gambo, who Jamoh made the Head of Administration and Human Resources Department, is a Deputy Director and therefore not senior enough to call for a meeting of Directors.