It is not surprising to hear that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) doled out
N25 million to a group of journalists in the maritime industry, what is astonishing is that some NIMASA officials now claim the agency was blackmailed into providing the fund, for which purpose is not clear.
Followers of development in NIMASA know that there was no blackmail anywhere rather they were driven by many factors made up of personal and official.
One is that the Negotiator who secured the approval from the Director-General, Patrick Apkobolokemi has equally bargained for a good percentage of the funds with the journalists, who are helpless and were actually dying to have it, irrespective of the sum left.
The Negotiator assembled some of the “Criminals” the Ex-NIMASA, DG, Ade Dosumu used in the system, to get the approval from Apkobolokemi. Dosumu’s era in NIMASAS witnessed unprecedented unethical activities in the history of the agency. These are smart guys, who have perfected how to package phoney jobs and secure approval from a CEO; these are the boys working with the Negotiator. It is on record that this is the single largest money ever given to a media group in the history of NIMASA. The Negotiator is equally a man given to fraud, a factor that led to his forced exit from a previous place of work. Despite these records, NIMASA employed him to man a strategic position that sees him shuttle between Lagos and Abuja on weekly basis.
One other driving factor for the
N25 million is that Apkobolokemi hands are badly soiled. By
December 2013, the young NIMAS DG will be three years in office. No success
story can hardly be ascribed to him except that some thousands of Niger Delta
youths have been granted opportunity for training abroad under the Agency’s
Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). I stand to be corrected! I
challenge NIMAS to a debate on its achievements as envisioned in the Act in the
last three years.
It is on record that the policing of the waterways to fight crude oil theft and piracy for which the nation’s resources are being wasted into the private pockets of some militants is a sham. Facts abound, but this is a story for another day.
To show how he runs NIMASA with some intelligence that smacks of a re-think, Apkobolokemi who got rattled by a report in Vanguard on how the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) has been abused, called the reporter and issued a mixture of warnings and threat: “You think that thing you are writing will pull an hair from me? It will not do anything to me. You better be careful. Be mindful of your career”.
Why does Apkobolokemi need to call the reporter if he is not troubled by the report? In this job, when a journalist states the truth, it is blackmail. When you are neither cold nor hot you are a friend of the house. But with this, the journalist in you is on a flight, meaning that you are dead, professionally. This is what NIMASA wants to achieve with
N25 million greek gift to a group of journalists, who certainly
cannot boast of N15m at the end of the
day because it is a means of settlement.
Have we paused to ask one question: There are over 200 Journalists in the maritime industry, yet it is still grossly under reported? Many crimes are taking place in high places, nobody sees and writes!
At events, meaningful questions are not asked. And if you dare ask probing questions, professionally you are tagged enemy of the agency or institution.
Apkobolokemi has questions to answer on many things in NIMASA but he is being shielded away from the true media people in the industry. This justifies the