By Gboyega Oni
Bad attitude of many Nigerian security operatives on board vessels in the course of discharging their duties at our ports and piracy cases on our seas were among major reasons that caused Nigeria to lose the 2017 International Maritime Organisation Council election.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside disclosed this in Lagos when the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti along with executives of the Federated Maritime Media Chapel (FMMC) paid a courtesy visit to him.
Peterside said that many people had cited various reasons for the loss but without considering the role the countries of origin of vessels that visit our ports play in the IMO election and our attitude to their vessels.
He noted that many of our operatives while on board vessels in our port were found of demanding for money, bribe, from the vessel crews instead of carrying out their legitimate duty diligently and all these were reported by the crew back home in their respective countries and thus tarnished the image of Nigeria.
Peterside, who was represented by Malam Bashir Jamoh, Executive Director, Administration and Finance, noted that most of the countries where these vessels originated vote at IMO elections and with the bad attitude of our security agencies to their vessels, how would they vote for Nigeria? He said that NIMASA was working toward correcting the anomaly and combating piracy.
‘Nigeria lost the IMO elections because of the attitude of our security official and coupled with piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea. It is sad that Nigerian security agencies would go onboard vessels in our ports and begin to demand for money from the vessel crews and you want their countries to vote for you, they won’t. These are the people who vote at IMO elections. We are going to correct these problems,’ Peterside assured.
While assuring NUJ of the NIMASA’s support, the Director General called on the NUJ Chairman to take the issue of training of their members and quackery serious as many go about parading themselves as journalists whereas they are not, saying that the media is one of the major stakeholders of the organisation. He noted that it was important for the media and NIMASA to meet regularly and share ideas on how to moving the industry forward.
Earlier in his speech, Dr. Qasim Akinreti thanked the management of NIMASA for the cordial relationship between NIMASA and journalists, noting that this has earned NIMASA good report in the media. He informed that his administration stands on professionalism, integrity, training and welfare of journalists and assured that his administration would not relent to achieve them to better the profession.
Appreciating the critical role of NIMASA in the development of the nation’s maritime industry, Akinreti told NIMASA that the Union had made efforts to fight quacks by coming up with an innovative microchip identity card which contained information about the holder, advising NIMASA to always ask journalists to show their NUJ identity cards and whoever does not have is a fake journalist.
He called NIMASA to give more support to journalists in the industry and used the opportunity to invite the NIMASA management to the NUJ Day slated for March 15, 2018, which is designed to showcase what the Union stands for.
Corroborating Dr. Qasim Akinretri, Mr. George Umunakwe, Chairman of FMMC, asked NIMASA to support the Chapel in its drive towards improving maritime reporting and more particularly in the area of secretariat accommodation for the Chapel.