Home » EXCLUSIVE: My enemies cashing in on my relationship with Buhari to smear me, NIMASA DG reacts to allegations of corruption 

EXCLUSIVE: My enemies cashing in on my relationship with Buhari to smear me, NIMASA DG reacts to allegations of corruption 

by Samson Echenim

These are not good times for the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Bashir Jamoh. In the last two years, there have been accusations of various forms of corruption against the cool-mien technocrat who was appointed NIMASA DG by former president Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.

The accusations appeared to have reached a climax recently when a popular online newspaper (not The Economy) reported that the NIMASA boss inflated budgets and appointed people of his ethnic group in strategic positions at NIMASA.

The newspaper had claimed to have analysed the agency’s financial reports and found that NIMASA budget was inflated by 500% in 2023, amidst several other unprintable allegations.

However, Jamoh has reacted to the allegations in an exclusive conversation with The Economy on Wednesday, saying his enemies and those who are interested in his seat are using his relationship with former President Muhammadu Buhari to damage his image. Jamoh insisted he would not join issues with his accusers but would rather charge journalists to do thorough checks on the issues and report accordingly.

Jamoh is married to Buhari’s niece and his daughter is married to Buhari’s nephew.

“From what I gathered, one, they (his enemies) are looking at my relationship with the previous government. Two, too many people are after my seat. I think they are the ones sponsoring all these malicious accusations, but it is not enough for me to deny the accusations. I want to charge all journalists to delve into the issues and see for themselves, whatever accusations they have against me,” Jamoh told The Economy via the telephone.

The NIMASA boss who spoke from Ghana, at a conference he’s currently attending in the West African country, indicated that he was getting tired of hearing the myriads of accusations against him, wondering what it all portend for his enemies and the country at large.

Jamoh denied all the accusations and reports of corruption against him saying that budgeting is done according the needs and priorities of the agency and approved by the national assembly.

He said, “Some of these allegations have gone to the SSS. I am very tired. I think in the future so many good people won’t like to work for government, because there is no point for me burning my youthful age serving my country. I spent seven years serving Kaduna State Government, and now, 30 years serving the Federal Government, only for somebody to take paper and biro and start to write fictitious lies against me. What will I do with this money?

“This is not the first time these people doing this. They alleged that I have N45 trillion. The entire budget of NIMASA from its days as NMA till today is not up to that. The bank they said I have N1.5 trillion, the entire banking asset and deposit are not up to N1.5 trillion. I have never maintained account with Fidelity Bank. I don’t have foreign account and I don’t have any company account. My account is one salary account. So how do I get that money. They said that I inflated the NIMASA budget. How do I inflate budget, when the budget goes through the national assembly?

“They said the budget for training went up by 500%. I was the head of training at the agency before I was promoted to the executive director level. Since 2020 that we hard covid, we don’t have large sums for training. This matter was taken to the national assembly and is well known. Journalists can visit our office and ask for our financial reports. I am always transparent.”

Jamoh insisted that he was not ready to join issues with his detractors, noting that he deliberately declined approval to all statements written by agency’s Public Relations Department in reaction to some of the allegations.

He continued: “Just last week the same media organisation reported that we didn’t deploy the Deep Blue project. Can you imagine that? The Nigerian Navy, Army and Air Force are the ones manning the assets not NIMASA and the Navy came to NIMASA recently to explain that these assets have been deployed and they are using them. The president wrote to direct us to release air platforms to the Nigerian Air Force, water platforms to Navy and land asset to the Nigerian Army. And these assets were deployed accordingly and we have even seen the effect in recent reduction in piracy.

“I am in Ghana now, and the Chief of Army staff is here too. He was the one spoke on the operations of these the Deep Blue Project and everybody was clapping. Last year we had the NISA (Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association) dinner and the Nigerian Navy disclosed that their capacity had been increased by 50%.

“I have been quiet. The agency’s communication department has been writing but I don’t want to react by myself to these unfounded allegations . I want journalists to write. I just read here in Ghana about a civil society organisation protesting in Abuja saying that allegations about me are a distraction. I don’t know them, but I am just reading it now here in Ghana.”

He maintained that every agency’s budget is tailored to meet the needs of the agency.

“If budget increases, it depends on the priorities that we have. I don’t know about what they saying, but I can state that nobody took a kobo for doing nothing. The training we had we made it more elaborate and tried to divide the training in terms of professionalism. So many professional trainings we were not doing before, now we do. I have put the agency in the global maritime page. Before I took over the managent of the agency we don’t have any vessel. Now we have five brand new vessels built with bullet proof,” he said.


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