Barely two weeks after government ordered the probe of all contracts and projects embarked upon during the tenure of erstwhile Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, the searchlight now beams on the agency’s staff audit.
The exercise which has thrown scores of staffers of the foremost regulatory body into panic is specifically directed at the employment and promotions carried out by the sacked DG since he assumed office in 2010.
Already, the Federal Ministry of Transport has constituted a nine-member committee to scrutinize the agency’s entire staff structure and turn in its findings and recommendations within two weeks to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mallam Mohammed Bashar.
The committee, which is headed by the Ministry’s Director of Human Resources, Mr. Lawal Ibrahim, is expected to determine whether employments, placement and promotions in NIMASA from 2010 to date conformed to the Civil Service procedures and were also in line with the Federal Character Principle.
NIMASA has, amongst other things, been enmeshed in staffing controversy since 2010, following allegations that the former DG had populated the agency with indiscriminate employment and promotion of both junior and very senior staffers from a particular region, to the detriment of other parts of the country.
While Akpobolokemi was said to have single-handedly employed non-qualified persons into positions which required cure professional competence, he was said to have indiscriminately promoted some of his favorites without due diligence , even as those due for promotion were left to stagnate in particular offices beyond necessary.
Commenting on the exercise, the Acting Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Haruna Baba Jauro said the main objective of the exercise was to ensure proper staff placement in line with extant Federal Civil Service regulations, and not to witch hunt.
According to the NIMASA helmsman, “the exercise would aid the process of motivating the staff of the Agency and get the best out of them in the discharge of their onerous responsibilities.
“In the end, the interest of the staff will be protected as the civil service rule, which emphasises fairness and equity, will be the guiding principle of the exercise. We are confident that staff morale will be boosted for enhanced productivity when the process is completed,” the DG said.
He commended the Federal Ministry of Transport for its commitment to staff welfare and assured that NIMASA would continue to discharge its statutory responsibilities for the development of the Nigerian maritime industry.
BY Alex Akao