The type of impunity associated with the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan may be rearing its ugly head again. It would be recalled that Jonathan in December 2010 appointed his kinsman, Patrick Akpobolokemi as Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in utter disregard of provisions of the NIMASA Act.
With the appointment of Dakuku Peterside as NIMASA Director General by the Federal Government yesterday, stakeholders are beginning to question the much-taunted respect for rule of law refrain of the present administration.
The NIMASA Act of 2007 is unambiguous about who can serve on the board of the regulatory agency.
According to Section 6 of the Act: “The President on recommendation of the Minister shall appoint to the Board only persons with relevant experience and capacity applicable to maritime administration, recognised expert knowledge, qualification and experience in one or more of the following fields: Maritime Safety; Maritime Security; Maritime Pollution; Nautical Sciences and Hydrography; Marine Engineering; Finance; Marine Laws; Transport Logistics; Administration; and Marine Labour.”
The Director-General is automatically a member of the board.
Section 11 further clarifies the appointment into DG office: “The President on the recommendation of the Minister shall appoint a Director-General for the Agency in accordance with the provision of sections 6 and 7 of this Act.
“The Director-General shall be a person with extensive knowledge of and ability in maritime affairs and subject to section 9 of this Act, shall hold office, for such term not exceeding four years which term may be renewed for a further term not exceeding four years.”
Peterside, from the provision of these sections of the NIMASA Act clearly does not qualify to hold the position.
An ally of Transportation Minister Chibuike Amaechi, Peterside was the governorship candidate of APC in the April.11, 2015 governorship election in Rivers State and also a former member, House of Representative from 2011 to 2015.
A statement signed by the Director, Public Relations of the Ministry of Transportation, Yetunde Sonaike yesterday stated that Peterside holds a Doctorate Degree in Management Science from the University of Port Harcourt and an MBA.
He also holds a Bachelor Degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences (B.MLS) in Hematology from Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
It remains to be seen if the Federal Government will correct itself in line with its rule of law posture.
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