MAN Oron 2019 Missing Fund Senate set to probe NIMASA
Perhaps, it is no longer news that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, as at the end of May 2019 have as yet received any part of its budget allocation for the current year.
Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua (retired) who reportedly disclosed this during a parliamentary business session with the Senate Committee of Marine Transport, was believed to have lamented the undue negative impact the development was having on the institution.
He explained to the committee members that its funding is drawn from five percent of the total annual earnings of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and not only expressed dissatisfaction at the way and manner NIMASA has been paying the money piece meal, but also reportedly worried about the ‘non accountable’ method the disbursement has so far taken.
An agitated Effedua told the committee members that despite all appearances, the Academy is crawling under the weight of financial burden, noting that the only money they have gotten this year from NIMASA is the last tranche of its quarterly disbursement for 2018; and urged the lawmakers to come to the academy’s help.
Like his predecessors, Effedua also expressed reservations over the mathematical formula of what constitutes 5% of NIMASA’s total earning, as espoused in the MAN Oron/NIMASA Acts and in the official gazette.
“Mr. Chairman let me raise a knotty issue here, the Academy does not know how much NIMASA generates, so we cannot really know if what we are getting constitute 5% of its total earning”, he declared, adding:
“The Academy is supposed to receive payment quarterly, but we receive only three times a year. For 2019, we have not received any allocation. We only received the last quarter of 2018 in the first quarter this year”.
Irked by the apparent lack of professional decorum and gross insensitivity to the institutional wellbeing of MAN and its students and cadets, the Committee is believed to have set up machinery to probe the alleged movements and maladministration of the fund.
It is not clear what the management of NIMASA have done with the funds, whether they were breathing and multiplying in some private bank accounts, whether they have been invested in project financing, stocks, or in buying and selling.
The Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Yerima was quoted as saying NIMASA should come out clean on the payment of the Academy’s fund, which he described as a right and not by any means a favour by the agency.
In the course of the budget defence, the Rector said the 2018 budget performed at above 65%, based on N7billion expenditure, with indication of having returned about N60million to government coffers as unspent fund? For the current year, Effedua said the Academy is expecting over N8billion from NIMASA.
Autonomous and self accounting, the Academy augments it’s meager funding of 5% of NIMASA’s total yearly revenue with slime resource margins from its internally generated revenue (IGR) of about N280million per annum; with an additional N200million from MORCA; bringing its financial projection for this year to N9billion.
There is speculation that the missing MAN Oron money may have been part of funds deployed for political philandering during the last general elections, for nomination rounds and the follow up campaigns beginning at the primaries, both at the Rivers State home base of Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of NIMASA, and his boss and political pathfinder, the immediate past Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
MAN Oron troubles certainly didn’t start the two friends, but with a government that prided itself as an honest and straight forward government, the last administration should have been honest with Nigerians about the true status of the Academy’s budgetary cover. Beyond that, the integrity driven FG should have detached MAN’s allocations from the apron spring of NIMASA; with a clear constitutional review undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Finance. This would have addressed the question of NIMASA’s actual annual takings, and also addressed the requirement into the Central Bank; for safeguard, for transparency and accountability.
The Academy is believed to have one of the largest records of abandoned projects, with over 92% of total project costs already paid to contractors. Some of these unspeakable contractors are serving and former lawmakers, some have moved up to become state governors, and the list also includes some past transport ministers. They brow beat every sitting Rector, collects mobilization, returns to demand the balance in two to three tranches, and then walk away.
It is also not a secret that NIMASA has for a long time already, perfected the act of burrowing into the Academy’s statutory allocation, through threats of delay and blackmail, for which quite a number of Effedua’s predecessors fell victim. Late Mr. Joshua Okpo the Academy Rector that died December 2016 at Abuja was a victim, by his own admission.
Sadly the Academy under the ministerial supervision of Amaechi suffered the same fate, despite that Amaechi had the power of fire and water going for him, in so far as MAN and NIMASA were concerned.
Recall that at some point, Amaechi appropriated the power of the Academy and literally ran the place from Abuja, with an ulterior motive to get even with perceived enemies. Despite his orchestration to create a storm and wave the magic wand later with the word, ‘peace be still’ arrangement, he was unable to fairly and justly superintend over the storm, and quitted the stage with MAN and NIMASA still in the trench.
Amid his dismal performance, Amaechi love to gloat and scoff, hence, rather than maintain some dignity when he visited MAN on the eve of his departure, he chose to shadow box.
Recall that he called the Rector he inherited, Mr. Joshua Okpo a thief, while conveniently ignoring the late man’s charge that NIMASA stinks, and has been stealing from MAN’s allocation. He said he would have probed Okpo if he hadn’t died.
Now however, by all account, one of his own, the incumbent Rector have reportedly re-echoed the charge by Okpo, that NIMASA has been less than honest with the disbursement of MAN’s allocations. The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has become the arbiter, and has in principle offered to probe the morass left behind by the very ‘famous’ and very flippant former Transportation Minister.
But Amaechi is no more an issue any more than where the missing MAN Oron’s money for first and second quarter of this year has been. How much is the money, and how much interests has it generated so far? Does Nigerians have the right to have an understanding of all the intricacies associated with the right financial report of what is the net earnings? This NIMASA total earning question has become a matter of distrust and is fast assuming a national issue even though between it is clearly between it and MAN. To resolve it, NIMASA should come clean and explain the technicalities to the maritime media, which does not seem to have the computational wherewithal; but is willing to acquire the skill to this essential tool. MAN Rector and his management staff would also be very willing to understand the 5% total earning sharing dynamics.