Over 350 seafarers and staff in the employment of Global West Specialist Limited say they will march on the headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by September 30, 2021 if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to re-order the management of NIMASA to commence payment of all the debts it owes Global West, so that it can pay their salary arrears.
It would be recalled that President Buhari in 2015 ordered the management of NIMASA to stop payment to Global West Vessel Specialist Limited who provided a security platform for NIMASA in providing security on the nation’s sea until the investigation from the economic and financial crime commission EFCC was over.
The workers cried in an open letter addressed by the seafarers to President Buhari asking him to lift the order, to save them from starvation. The letter was signed by Quarter Master Samson Owolo, the leader of the jobless seafarers.
The seafarers said they had taken the matter to court and won but the federal government has refused to honour the verdict of the court asking the government to lift the order.
The letter reads thus: Dear President, this latter is coming from (three hundred and fifty) 350 seafarers and staff of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, the major contractors to NIMASA.
Dear President, sometime in June 2015 you ordered NIMASA to stop payment to Global West Vessel Specialist unti the investigation from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is over.
An order that place more than (three hundred and fifty) 350 seafarers to the labour markets was a terrible experience for good 5-6 yrs 2015 -2021. Workers’ salaries have been held down by the government that lead to the loss of lives of many seafarers working with Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd.
Our kids were (are) out of school because there is no more money to pay for their school fees, we the staff’s of Global West Vessel Specialist as law abiding citizens we (have) waited patiently from 2015 -2020 June 15th after the court case was over between Global West Vessel Specialist and the EFCC.
We are in 2021 now; we are yet to receive our salaries. According to our management, the government is yet to approve the money to Global West Vessel Specialist, for the past one year and seven months now. We are still waiting for the government to approve payment to the Global West Vessel Specialist.
How long more are the workers going to wait for their salaries? Staff are dying because of the hardship in the country, our families are suffering; what sin did we commit that deserves this kind of punishment from the government?
Even after we have won the case in the court, someone in the government still decided to punish innocent staffs that have laboured for the betterment of this country by forcefully refusing to approve the payment to Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd. Even with all the efforts from Global West to make the government see reasons, the government keeps making it more difficult for Global West Vessel Specialist to receive their payment.
We the staff say enough is enough; we can’t keep quiet and keep dying one after the other. We don’t know who is next in line. We are coming out in mass to protest, a peaceful protest, to NIMASA headquarters at 4 Burma Road, Apapa on the 30th September 2021.