Comrade Jimoh Umar

The President must take a second look at Oronsaye’s report, especially on maritime – Umar

following the submission of the Presidential Committee’s report to look into the viability of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria, headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, President, Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Branch, Comrade Jimoh Umar, wants the Presidency to set up another committee to review the committee’s report, especially its recommendations on maritime operations in the country. He spoke with Ships & Ports’ Ewomazino Akpor.

What have you been able to achieve within six months of your re-election?
After the election we tried to follow strictly to our manifestoes that is our promises and thank God we have been able to follow up to date, what we intend to achieve and we have achieved what we set to achieve for the first quarter of the year in terms of attending to the rights and privileges of the workers, because meetings have been held and committees have been set up, position papers have been submitted by the committees and the management is currently looking at those things and soon we will get results. We have equally promised to touch the lives of those who will be retiring every year because they are our members and we have been organizing workshops for them on life after work and that is what we will be doing on quarterly basis.

Can you mention some of these achievements?
As I have told you we have promised to drive home the welfare of our members without fear or favour. When we came in we held a meeting with management that dealt on several issues. One of them was promotion that needed to be streamlined because we now have a new policy on promotion and for that to take place the previous one need to be streamlined to put the round pegs and square pegs in their appropriate places. We also demanded for the accrued pension to be given to our various pension fund managers. We are also asking for upgrading in a situation where an organization decides to ratify appointment two times or three times in one’s life working career is not proper, it is out of the working conditions of the organization and the working conditions of the Federal Civil Service Commission. We have raised this issue and management has seen reasons with us.
So those people need to be upgraded you don’t need to ratify their appointments, how many times do you want to ratify their appointments? So it is out of the conditions of service, when you streamline it, that will help us better. And also we have series of promotions before, so all these things need to be streamlined to put the goal post at its proper place before the new policy based on performance will take effect. So we want this to take place before the new policy will start.
Also the issue on manning skill, management is working on it because we have called for it, you need to take the manning skill of the organization, the Presidential Committee to look into the viability of Ministries, Departments and Agencies has submitted its report but there is one thing missing because the report is not self explanatory. They still need to go back to the drawing board and make their report explanatory. People in that committee could not decode it because it is for the technocrats and this is due to the fact that they are not in maritime related business.
The organogram you get when you are talking about ministries or service agencies is different from what we have because we are talking about marine operations, port management and all that, we have products, for instance we have in the dockyard several product, the Continental Shipyard Limited is a company under the Nigerian Ports Authority if you go there we have a very sound flouting dock though defective now if put order it will be one of the best in the Africa region. It can handle 20,000 metric tons ship but we need to turn it round, we are also talking about deep seaport development in Akwa Ibom State and I believe the governor there has given the Certificate of Occupancy to the Nigerian Ports Authority. We are also talking about the dredging of River Niger, yes it has been dredged but we need to talk about the economic viability.
What we are saying that the organogram of the authority was submitted to the committee and they could not decode it but they need to do more if they want to know more they have to visit because you cannot sit down in an office and submit a report, you need to have the physical examination and that is what the committee need to do, if the report lacks certain things it should not be a surprise to the entire Nigeria and government should be very careful about that committee ‘s report, they need to set up another committee to review the report to visit the ports so that they can see things for themselves if Mr. President’s dream of making our port a hub in the West and Central Africa sub region and also resume her duties of delivering services to inter-lock countries must be achieved.

There is the view that with the level of infrastructure Nigeria has at present, she cannot attain a hub port? 
You are now coming to my own point about the dredging of River Niger. If we must achieve the hub port status, Nigerian Ports Authority must be active to ensure river Niger is navigable, not only that, it can move cargo up north. If we can transfer cargoes by water, then the roads can be relieved. They are trying but they are not fast enough. Also, if the rail is working, as you can see AP Moller has constructed the rail outside the port and even Flour Mills, if that is connected to the national gauge then we are on the right track to achieve a hub port. If that is in place i.e. the rail, roads are repaired, the waterways are free for navigation and we now remove obstructions i.e. touts from the roads and waterways, 2020 is even too long to achieve a hub port because if all these are in place we can achieve the hub port status in the next five years.

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