No fewer than 16 staff of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), sacked by former Director General of the agency, Raymond Temisan Omatseye, have appealed to the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) to intervene in their matter and ensure their reinstatement.
Omatseye was appointed NIMASA Director General in July 2009. He replaced Dr. Ade Dosunmu.
Omatseye, who was suspended from office by former President Goodluck Jonathan on allegations of fraudulent activities in December 2010, was found guilty of the offence by a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday and sentenced to five years in prison.
In a letter signed by one Rapheal Omojo, sacked workers accuse Omatseye of vindictiveness and nepotism.
The letter, dated 10th August 2015, addressed to the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Prof. Ben Angwe, and titled “INJUSTICE DONE ON SIXTEEN (16) OF US IN A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PARASTATAL- NIMASA” reads in part: “The objective of this petition is to acquaint you with our case with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). During a recruitment exercise conducted in 2009, twenty-two (22) of us were interviewed and given employment (see attached) and we resumed and went through an industrial training. After which we were deployed to various department and issued with identity cards. A new Director General was appointed to replace Dr Ade Dosunmu, who was the Director General when we were employed.
“To our surprise the appointment of twenty-two (22) of us was terminated without any reason or payment of one month in lieu of notice, later six (6) of us were recalled at different times with the same appointment letter. This injustice which arose as a product of nepotism, favouritism and high handedness has paralyzed the life of affected families over six (6) years. Here are the details of what transpired to change our lives.
“The new Director General, Mr Omataseye after three (3) months in office called for the nullification of previous employment within six (6) months prior to his coming on board.
“Meanwhile some of the 22 whose appointment was earlier nullified were reabsorbed with the same appointment letter as well as a new set of people numbering over 400.
“The recruitment exercise that brought in was free, thorough and fair and it cut across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria, and all of us are very qualified for the various departments. It is noteworthy that most of us terminated by Mr Omataseye resigned from previous places of work, after the thorough recruitment exercise we underwent, thereby causing us untold hardship.
“The only reason brought to our knowledge for the termination was merely as a result of personal rift between the then out gone Director General in the person of Dr Ade Dosunmu and the new Director General in the person of Mr Omataseye. Our past and present travails can thus be traced down to the result of one gladiator trying to spite another and those with godfather were reabsorbed.”
The workers said all their efforts to seek redress of the wrongful termination met with brick wall.
“It is based on the above submission that we have decided to bring our case to your commission as the beacon of justice in our country. Please look into our case and ensure our rights denied us because of being ordinary citizens are rightfully returned and compensated for our ordeal so far,” they stated.
The NHRC which has acknowledged receipt of the petition said it has commenced investigation into the matter.
In a letter dated 26th October 2015, the human rights body asked NIMASA explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged wrongful termination of aggrieved workers’ employment.
“Pursuant to Sect1ons 5 and 6 of the National Human Rights Commission Act of 1995, as amended, the Commission has admitted the complaint for investigation and appropriate determination.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the Commission is drawing your esteemed attention to the claims made by the complainant and request that you investigate the matter with a view to taking appropriate action.
“We would appreciate that your good offices kindly share with the Commission the outcome of your intervention, to facilitate our prompt dispassionate determination of the matter,” the NHRC Executive Secretary said in the letter signed on its behalf by one Rabi A. Anwar.
The human rights body also send a reminder to NIMASA on 13th May 2016 for its response to the petition.
NIMASA is yet to respond to both letters.
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