DG, NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi
The Federal Government has approved the recall of two Directors of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) who were suspended from office in the wake of the allegations of misappropriation and corruption levelled against the erstwhile Director General of the agency, Mr. Temisanren Omatseye.
Omatseye and the two Directors, Mr. Mohammed Kabiru Shehu, Director of Procurement and Alhaji Jarma Bulama, Director of Finance were suspended from office late last year. Shehu and Bulama were alleged to have aided and abetted Omatseye.
The suspension of Omatseye, Shehu and Bulama was sequel to the audit exercise commissioned by the erstwhile Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, to look into the income and expenditure profile of the money spinning agency.
The audit, which was carried out by a team of chartered auditors and accountants, submitted an interim report to the former Minister who approved the suspension of the three officials.
It was on the heels of the crisis that followed the suspension of the three officials that a lecturer at the Bayelsa State owned Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan as Omatseye’s successor.
Already, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have dragged Omatseye to a Federal High Court in Lagos to answer the charges levelled against him.
An impeccable source said Shehu and Bulama were called back to office following their clearance by the board of the agency which presently has the former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Muazu, as Chairman.
THISDAY checks however revealed that the two Directors who have since resumed work at Maritime House, the corporate headquarters of NIMASA in Lagos could not immediately take over the statutory roles and responsibilities of the their former positions as their subordinates have been appointed to takeover shortly after their suspension from office.
This is not unconnected with the fact that since the civil service does not give room for any vacuum, two persons, namely Alhaji Mohammed Sanni and Mr. Victor Onuzuruike respectively were appointed to take over from them.
“It is true that they have been cleared of the allegations levelled against them and recalled by the board. But we have a challenge now. Where do we place them? That is the question on the lips of everyone. This is because two other persons were appointed to take over the functions and responsibilities of their offices shortly after they were suspended from office. That is the way the system works.
“Otherwise, you will create a hitch which will impede the smooth running of the system. And we cannot just ask those officials to vacate their seats like that. Anyway, the two Directors have been recalled. That is the most important thing. With time, we will find a way out of the other pending issues. I am sure the board and management of the agency will sort out shortly”, the source, who preferred anonymity, added.
When our correspondent contacted the Deputy Director and Head of Public Relations, NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, she confirmed the recalling of the two top officials.
She also confirmed that the two Directors have since resumed work at the agency corporate headquarters, Lagos. According to her, the decision to recall the two Directors was sequel to the board taking a second look into their case. “It recommended that they should be asked to come back to work, and they have already reported for work”, she said..