By Stephen Ubanna
Dakuku Peterside, Director General, National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, appears to have dismantled the tight security network inherited from Patrick Akpobokemi, his predecessor in the agency. The former NIMASA, boss was said to have engaged the services of both official and private security outfits to watch over the premises.
A visitor to the agency would be surprised at the number of security checkpoints to be passed before locating the Staff he wants to see, fueling speculation that the former Management had something to hide. The situation was too bad as the officials of the agency became afraid of receiving visitors for fear of been changed by the Akpobolokemi secret security guards. Many saw it as an extension of the Lagos state police Command and the Agency look alike Naval personnel who no longer do their work of Search and rescue but to provide security for Akobolokemi and his cronies in the office. Insiders told The Value News that then Akobokemi NIMAA Management spent millions of naira , to maintain the services of the security personnel to guarantee their loyalty. It was not surprising why then NIMASA boss was ”feared and not respected”.
Peterside, may have found that there is no basis for such tight security in a government maritime Regulatory agency which was set up to serve the stakeholders that he was said to have dismantled it, thus throwing the door of the open for business. this is evident going by the number of number of private security personnel at the entrance gate and on the floors to attend to visitors politely .
When the Value News visited the agency last Monday, April 8, 2019, to see Isechei Osamgbi, a Deputy Director, in-charge of the agency Public Relations, the Reporter did not have any difficulty in gaining entrance into the premises and the office to see him . The Magazine was initially afraid of being allowed to go in because it was not a visiting day as the former NIMASA boss laid down which was enforced by the overzealous security personnel. The situation was so bad as Maritime Journalists who have stories to confirm were frustrated leading to speculative damaging stories about the government agency .
More worrisome, is the fact ,that even if a visitor succeeds in getting into the premises, he or she is restricted to the very floor he signed on the visitor’s book with the tag that would be given to hang on his neck to show that he or she is a visitor.
It was crime to be found on the ninth floor, the exclusive zone of Akobolokemi then Director General . The story , according to a visitor the agency has changed for good. People could walk to the one- time exclusivee floor of the NIMASA boss without restriction.
A Maritime Journalist who was at the agency to see Osamgbi , the agency Spokes Person completed his business of being in office , then walked up to the ninth floor to see Hajia Lami Tumaka the Director Special Duties, without any any harassment from security personnel.
Many believe that Peterside, NIMASA boss, could throw the door of the agency as he did not see any reason to tighten security in any agency need business to survive. Moreso, he is not used to such security arrangement. As a Commissioner of Works in Rivers state under the Administration of Rotimi Amaechi, then governor of the state and now minister of Transportation, visitors walked freely to his office to him without restraint. He may have carried the same policy to NIMASA as long as you have appointment to see him.
Staff described him as a leader who did not see his position as a do or die affair as he could be dropped any day and the office would be occupied by another person. His simplicity may have warmed him to the heart of the officials of the agency including the industry stakeholders.