Maritime: Jamoh, DG, NIMASA, Woos Agencies To contribute To Pension Scheme For Their Staff  Towards Old Age

 By Stephen Ubanna

 More facts have emerged why the Leadership of the Maritime Workers Union Of Nigeria, MWUN, led by Prince Adewale Adeyanju had rejected the N100 million released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the close watch of Bashir Jamoh, OFR, to settle the gratuity and pensions of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL, disengaged seafarers after 40 years.

Prince Adeyanju, President General, MWUN, had said that there is no way the Union could have accepted the NIMASA N100 million Contribution because it could not meet their demand, let alone go round the beneficiaries, who are living in penury for those who are still alive or the kith and kins whose bread winners are dead.

The Kaduna state born technocrat who has been in the picture of the collapsed NNSL and the disengagement of the seafarers in its employ may have seen the  reason with the Leadership of the MWUN, to get other maritime agencies to contribute to the funds that he has taken it upon himself to reach out to his Counterparts in the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers Council and Inigerian Inland Water ways, NIWA,, including the indigenous shipping Companies  and stevedoring Companies to make contributory fund to the Pensions schemes fund  to avoid the mistake made in the lingering unpaid  gratuity and pensions of  the  disengaged seafarers of the defunct NNSL after 40  years.

The NIMASA boss who had worked tirelessly over the last three years to see payment of the disengaged seafarers of the defunct NNSL, entitlements   may have intensified the efforts over the last five months with the backing of Adegboyeaga Oyetola, a former governor of Oyo state and now minister of marine and blue economy.

Jamoh , DG NIMASA, Charles Okaga , Port Manager , Apapa & Others During Maiden Celebration Of Dockworkers Day In Lagos

The NIMASA helmsman may have known that there is no way that the new ministry of marine and blue economy which had been the dream of all industry operators over years could fulfil its mandate without carrying the seafarers along ‘’by ensuring that their welfare adequately taken care of including the disengaged workers of the defunct NNSL which remains an albatross on the neck of the agency and the other maritime agencies.

Jamoh, whose agency is already funding the Nigerian Maritime University, at Okerenkoko Gbaramatu, Delta state, that gulps millions of naira including the funding of approved Institutions to offer Maritime Education and Training may have had its hand full.

 According to an insider the funding of the approved Institutions across the country to offer maritime education and Training was in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 78, STCW, as amended.

 The source noted that the funding of the approved Institutions offering maritime courses was aimed at providing  a poll of labour for the nation’s maritime sector industry that will put the nation  in the league of countries like Philippines, Singapore and Sierra Leone that earns much of its foreign exchange from the export of seafarers to other maritime countries.

The NIMASA boss may have taken advantage of the maiden event of the Dockworkers celebration  in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre attended by Representatives  from the  Federal ministry of Labour and Productivity,   NPA and other maritime agencies and Association including NIMASA officials and , Seaport Terminal Operators Association, STOAN,   to call on stakeholders ‘’to appreciate the efforts of Dockworkers at the centre of the country’s import -dependent economy but also to focus on ways of improving their health and overall welfare’’.

Bashir Jamoh, presenting a souvenir to Ahmed Tijani Ramalan, A Former Board Chairman, NIMASA

Prior to the recently organised dockworkers event in Lagos and bankrolled by NIMASA, the agency had regularly marked the yearly  July 7th international  Global Day of Action  put together  by the International  Dockworkers Council, IDC, and International  Transport  Workers  Federation, ITF, aimed at raising the awareness  of port working conditions and importance  of collective  bargaining rights for the dockworkers in Nigeria.

The NIMASA Director General, whose agency has carried much of the  fundings of the nation’s maritime industry seafarers needs  over the years without complaints was said to have taken advantage of the dockworkers event to urge  the employers of Labour  in the nation’s maritime sector  ‘’to ensure that that all dockworkers  are enrolled  on contributory  pension  schemes’’ to avoid the mistakes committed in the non-payment  of the defunct  NNSL seafarer gratuity and pensions after 40 years of disengagement by the then Gen. rtd, Ibrahim  Babangida’s Administration.

He was said to have also emphasized the need for Oil and Gas terminal operators ‘’to allow only approved Stevedores aboard their installations’’, to ensure compliance with relevant International Maritime Organisation, IMO, a United Nation UN’s Maritime Agency, guidelines and conventions.

The NIMASA boss, who was worried that the disengaged NNSL, seafarers have not been paid their gratuity and pensions after 40 years of disengagement by the Federal government, would want the Industry operators including the NPA, ‘’to put in perspective the plight of the dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports both within and outside the country with little or nothing to show for it’’.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA, Waves to the crowd

This may have informed why he has enjoined the employers of Labour in the nation’s maritime sector ‘’to endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both employers and employee’s contributions at the end of each month’’.

 Also, speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, the NIMASA CEO, who could not hide his feelings  had said that ‘’there is need for operators in the private Jetties  that dotted the nooks and crannies of the country, Oil and Gas terminals to grant operational access to the stevedoring contractors appointed by the minister of the minister of Transportation to carry out their stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.

Prince Adeyanju, the MWUN, President General, who was said to have continuously nodded his head throughout the period that  the NIMASA boss presented his welcome address at the dockworkers at he event and who took his turn to speak had thanked the NIMASA CEO, and his Management Team for organising this year’s event ‘’to celebrate the Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them’’.

The Leadership of MWUN and Nigerians are looking forward to NPA and other maritime agencies making ther contributory funds to the pension scheme and enrolling their employers and employees into the  Scheme so that the settlement of the seafarers  in their Company would not pose a problem  on retirement or disengagement as currently being experienced by the defunct NNSL disengaged seafarers after 40 years.

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