Maritime: Minister Gives Pass Mark To Jamoh, Management And Staff, Describing NIMASA,’s Image Toady, As Much Better

By Stephen Ubanna

Not many  were surprised when Muazu Jaji Sambo, minister of Transportation , who was said to have been accompanied  by  Ademola  Adevgoroye , minister of State and Magadalene  Ajani, Permanent Secretary in the ministry  on a  recent working visit  to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, gave  pat on the back  to Bashir Jamoh, Management and Staff of the agency for their impressive performance.

NIMASA head Office, Burma Road, Apapa

 The minister who may have known much about the Maritime regulatory agency, as the General Manager, Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA, Lagos office, before his ministerial appointment last June, had said that the agency had changed.

 He may have alluded to the reduction of Piracy activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea as well as the agency implementation of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime offences, SPOMO, Bill, that was passed by the National Assembly and which had been signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019. 

Already, the agency had dragged the first set of Pirates and sea robbers caught in the act under the Law to Court in July 2021. More suspects were said to have been dragged to Court, thus sanitizing the nation’s maritime domain as foreign ocean vessels now enjoy sailing in Nigerian waters without fear of Pirates attack or kidnap of Crews for ransom,that runs into millions of naira.      The minister had attributed the impressive performance of Jamoh, the Management and Staff, in ‘’NIMASA today, ‘’to team work’’

Sambo, Minister Of Transportation, Adegoroye, Minister Of State And Other Top Officials Of The Ministry Visit To NIMASA

.   Many believe that the minister of Transportation, has every reason to conclude that Jamoh and his Management Team and Staff, have done so much in NIMASA, over the last two years   ‘’to be focused on its service delivery of its mandate’’. He may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh particular, who has been listed among the 437 Nigerians that are to be conferred   with national honours on Monday, October 10, 2022,   by the Katsina state born Nigerian President.

The NIMASA , Director  General, was said to have been selected  by the award screening Committee to be   among the  64 Nigerians,  from   the security agencies,  Traditional Institutions ,religious Groups,  Lawmakers, the political Class, including the public and private sectors , among others   to be conferred with the Officer of the Federal Republic, OFR, honour, which he had  already  dedicated to the Management and Staff , proving what the minister  had said that what had been achieved in the agency today that had  made the difference compared to what the agency was ten years ago was made possible through team work.

In given the ministerial commendation to Jamoh, Management and Staff,  Sambo, the minister of Transportation who  was impressed  with ‘’the agency  customer experience center and the Management efforts   to attract  young Nigerians  to the nation’s maritime sector   through various capacity development projects, was particular, about  the  essay competition  for secondary school students’’.

Indeed, for the sister Organisations to benefit from the good works of Jamoh in NIMASA, may have informed why the minister has called   ‘’for more synergistic relationship between the agency and other Parastatals under the supervision of the ministry. He may have alluded to the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, NIWA and Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC. 

He will expect  the NIMASA boss also to extend  the same synergistic relationship   ‘’to the Nigerian Navy,  Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police Force, NPF, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS and the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, including the Department of State Service, DSS.

 He may have advocated a synergistic relationship  between NIMASA and the various security agencies ‘’towards ensuring the success  of the  National Security  and Water Ways Infrastructure, popular,  Deep Blue  Project  in which the government had spent $195 million , to procure maritime security  equipment.  Not that the government had engaged the services of the Israeli firm, HLSI Systems and Technologies Limited in 2017,to supply maritime security equipment to the agency.

 Between 2020 and now, the Israeli firm, through close monitoring by the Jamoh led Management  was said to have delivered  16  armoured vehicles, 17  interception boats for coastal patrol,  Two Special Mission Vessels, Two Special Mission aircrafts,   three Helicopters and four unmanned Aerial vehicles  to the agaency.  

Sambo, Minister Of Transportation, Adegoroye, Minister Of State, Ajani ,Permanent Secretyary and Jamoh, Dg, NIMADA In A Group Pix

Unknown to the minister, on assumption of office on March 10, 2020, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, had reached out to his Counterparts in the sister agencies under the ministry, Nigeria Navy, which is operating and maintaining the sea equipment, the Nigerian Air Force, under the close watch of Air Vice Marshal Olayinka Amao, which currently operates and maintains the air equipment and the NCS in order to deepen their existing inter-agency relationship

Jamoh, the NIMASA CEO,  was said to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with  Isah Idris, Comptroller General, NIS, ‘’to further deepen their existing collaboration  and to facilitate the issuance of seafarers travel documents and the issuance of work permits to international vessel crews as well as preventing stoaways’’, all geared towards the success of the Deep Blue Project.

At present , under the Deep Blue project,  600 Special  Forces  from the Nigerian Navy,  Army,  Nigerian Air Force, DSS, and other para-military and  intelligence agencies, were said ‘’to be  undergoing  training  for special skills  to ensure effective implementation  of the  project’’. That much was confirmed by Jamoh, during the ministerial visit To NIMASA. He noted that ‘’the intent of the special training for the security agencies personnel, ‘’ is to ensure that the nation’s waterways remain safe from all forms of piracy and sea robbery’’.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA, Makes A Case For Indigenous Ship-Owners

Taking advantage of the visit to NIMASA, the minister was forced to speak on the vexed issue of the Cabotage Finance Fund, CVFF, stressing that he is going ‘’to break the jinx   by getting the fund disbursed  to the deserving indigenous ship owners’’ . He had said that ‘’if the CVFF, are disbursed, the Nigerian President will take the credit as ‘’it will remain a legacy in his Administration’’.

 Recall that Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and immediate past minister of Transportation, who had resigned his ministerial position, to pursue his Presidential ambition in the All Progressive Congress, APC,  last June, at the instance of the President,   had set up a Committee ‘’to develop fresh guidelines for the disbursement of the CVFF’’, but that was how far he could go.  Part of the fresh guidelines that was introduced by the Committee was that ‘’only indigenous ship -owners who had contributed to the fund   would be eligible access to the loan. 

 Even Hajia Gbemisola Saraki, the then minister of State, ministry of Transportation who has been redeployed to the ministry of Mines and Steel Development as the minister of State, in this Buhari’s second term in office, was said to have also piled up pressure on the President to facilitate the disbursement of the fund but was unable to break the jinx.

Hajia Saraki, the then minister of state, Transportation, had said during a working visit to NIMASA, last June, that   the CVFF, dollar account had risen from $209 million as at June 2021, to $350 million as at June 2022, representing a 79.4% increase , The naira  account, according to an insider was said to be N132 billion.  A top official of the agency had informed The Magazine that the CVFF, grows a daily basis.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had set up the CVFF, in 2003, ‘’to provide funds for vessel acquisition amongst the indigenous ship-owners in Nigeria. The source of the funds, the official had said   ‘’is the 2% contribution by indigenous ship – owners from every contract executed in the nation’s waters’’.

In apparent response to  the ministerial commendation  to Jamoh, the NIMASA Management and Staff, over their impressive performance,  Jamoh, the NIMASA boss,   who could not hide his feelings  had thanked the Kaduna state born technocrat  and minister of Transportation ‘’for his dynamic Leadership in steering the affairs  of the ministry’’  over the last four months.

The NIMASA, helmsman, was said to have assured him that ‘’the agency remain committed to actualizing its statutory mandate as stipulated in the four enabling acts of the National Assembly ‘’for a robust and attractive, maritime sector in Nigeria’’.

He was said to have intimated him on some of ‘‘the activities of the agency in realizing a robust maritime sector for the country which include obtaining approval   for physical and monetary incentives for ship-owners to purchase brand new vessels at zero duty and also assisting them to get foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, rate’’.

According to him, ‘’the move is to help the indigenous ship-owners,  ‘’to phase out  old,rikety and  trouble- shooting vessels from the nation’s water ways and encourage  more participation  in the  country’s shipping  industry which is currently been dominated by foreign shipping companies.

The NIMASA Director General , was said to  have also informed the minister that  under the Nigerian Seafarers  Development Programme, NSDP, programme, over  2,000 students , from the 36 states of the Federation ,including the Federal Capital Terriory, FCT,  have undergone training , ‘’out of which  about 800, are currently actively engaged  on various ships , with a good number of them said to be  working on the Nigerian Liquefied  Natural Gas, NLNG ships’’

He may have won the heart of the minister when he revealed that the agency ‘’is developing a National Building and infrastructure Development Strategy’’, which is aimed at’’ bridging the gap of capacity building  for trained seafarers’’.

Edward Osagie , an Assistant Director, Media, Adverts and Brands,  in the agency Public Relations  Unit,   had said that the Director General,  had listed  other achievements of the agency  which include but not limited  ‘’to  enhanced maritime Safety  administration, through effective Ports  and Flag States  Inspection  on foreign and Nigeria flagged vessels, enforcement of   safety regulations  on barges and tug boats, through ‘’operation Sting Ray, activation of online Seafarers Certificate of Competency Verification  platform and commenced  activities towards  ensuring  GHG ,remission reduction  in the nation’s maritime sector .

The asserted that the emphasis is on achieving ‘’ 0.5% Sulphur Oxide, SO2 in Bunker fuel’’. The ministerial visit may have given Sambo and his entourage an opportunity to undertook a tour of the agency Maritime Stakeholders Experience Contac Centre, MSEECC.The 24 hour  Centre,  Edward , had said  ‘’serves as a platform  for both internal  and external  stakeholders  to resolve  issues  within 24 hours’’.

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