Do the Needful to Safe Lives – AITA to NIMASA

Almushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA), a Non-Governmental, Non-partisan and Non-profit making organization exclusively empowered by its object to be a vanguard against corruption, injustice and other allied matters has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to pay outstanding debt to Global West Vessel Specialist Limited for ease payment of its staff’s over six years outstanding salaries and allowances.

In a press release signed by its national president; Ambassador Aminu Abubakar Majidadi and made available to Captalwatch Media, AITA unveiled details of the complaint received from petitioners of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited.

“The petition was submitted by Mr. Crowther F. Okiakpe on behalf of petitioners of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (whom we hereinafter refer to as the petitioners) against the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the non-payment of over 6 years salaries and allowances of the petitioners of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, we have been credibly informed by the petitioners and we believe that;
The company, Global West Vessel Specialist Limited had a Private Partnership contract with NIMASA to supply, operate and transfer 20 vessels. It is essentially a security contract within the territorial waters of Nigeria.” It stated.

“To effectively carry out these operations the company employed the petitioners for patrols and operation of its vessels. The company derives its revenue from collections it makes on behalf of NIMASA every month after necessary deductions as specified in the terms of the contract between the company and NIMASA; this in turn is used by the company to pay its workers (the petitioners).

NIMASA stopped paying the company its monthly commission from March 2015; the company as a result of this stopped paying the petitioners’ salaries and allowances in August 2015.
After this, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced investigation into the activities of the company and eventually the company and others were charged to the Federal High Court for money laundering allegations, consequently the company accounts were frozen.” It added.

According to the statement, the petitioners, having not been paid their salaries and allowances for months, proceeded to protest against this several times without any response from the parties saddled with responsibility for the prompt payment of their salaries and allowances.

It added that the petitioners proceeded to employ the services of a Consultant/Attorney who took the matter to the Federal Ministry of Labor for arbitration. When they met at the panel set by the Federal Ministry of Labor, the Company claimed that their accounts had been frozen by the EFCC hence they were unable to receive payment from NIMASA. An agreement was reached that NIMASA will pay the company as soon as the restrictions on the company account were lifted.

“The petitioners further took the matter to the Ministry of Justice for intervention who after some deliberations, advised the parties to approach the courts in order to unfreeze the company’s accounts. The petitioners consequently through their counsel filed a motion to the Court as the case was still ongoing and the court in her sympathy lifted the embargo on the Company’s accounts to enable it to pay its petitioners and maintain the vessels.”

“It’s unfortunate according to the petition, the company could only pay 3 months of the salaries due to the little funds it could mop-up from its accounts. NIMASA failed to pay any money to the company then, citing interference by the EFCC and the pending court case.”

The statement further unveiled that “It has now been 6 years since this issue started and till now some staff are still working to maintain the vessels to make sure they have not been vandalized. Based on the contract the company has with NIMASA, these vessels and all the equipment will become to NIMASA at the end of the contract since it’s a supply, operation and transfer contract. The company has incurred a lot of debt in maintaining the petitioners and the vessels to prevent them from damage and vandals.

The payment due the company from NIMASA is for a 9-month period of April-December 2015 only and will be enough to upset the outstanding salaries and allowances of the petitioners.
It is noteworthy at this juncture to point out that the case in question against the Company was concluded and they were discharged of all charges against them by the Federal High Court in June 2020.
The petitioners and the company have on many occasions reached out and pleaded with NIMASA through the Federal Ministry of Justice for the company to be paid so it can upset the outstanding salaries and allowances of the petitioners all to no avail.”

AITA further revealed that the petitioner also said “In one of the meetings at the Federal Ministry of Justice attended by representatives from NIMASA, Global West Management, Representative of the petitioners and a representative of the Minister of Justice (AGF), it was disclosed that for the period in issue (April 2015- December 2015) payment due the company from NIMASA amounts to Twenty-Three Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty-One US Dollars ($23,654,661.00) and Eight Hundred and Eighty-Six Million, Four Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Eight Hundred and Five Naira (N886,412,805.00) only.

According to the statement, in an effort to solve the issue, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labor have tried severally to get the attention of NIMASA to solve the issue but NIMASA has bluntly refused to heed their calls and therefore the Ministries are at a dilemma of how to proceed.
It is on the strength of the foregoing, AITA wrote to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) addressed to the office of the Director-General and requested for the agencies response and intervention to help resolve the issue as soon as possible considering how some of the petitioners have died waiting for their salaries and allowances.

“AITA wrote to NIMASA and copied the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Transportation and the President and Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet no tangible outcome in this regard has so far been achieved.

It is on this regard that AITA as non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit making organization exclusively dedicated to ensure transparency and accountability in Nigerian public service, check-mate the excesses of citizens’ private conducts with the aim of providing a dynamic environment, based on the principle of natural justice, equity and good conscience within the limits of global ethical practice hereby call on NIMASA to as matter of urgency and fairness pay all outstanding debt to global west vessel specialist limited to enable our clients get their benefits.