Posted by By Joe Nwakwo, Abuja on
The assassination of Lagos State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Engr. Funsho Williams, may have claimed its first victims.....
The assassination of Lagos State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Engr. Funsho Williams, may have claimed its first victims on Tuesday with the sacking of the Director General of the National Maritime Authority (NMA), Mr. Festus Ugwu and all directors of the parastatal.
In the place of the sacked NMA chiefs, an interim management team was constituted to run the organization.
The sack of Ugwu and others, which was approved by President Olusegun Obasanjo, is coming after Ugwu and some of the director, were quizzed by detectives over the brutal murder of Williams.
The late Williams was, until his assassination last Thursday, the chairman of the NMA board. He was said to have querried NMA chiefs over an alleged missing N550 million from the authority’s coffers at the last meeting of the board.
The NMA officials reportedly offered oral explanations, which, however, the late Williams considered unsatisfactory, making him to inform them that he was going to report the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Meanwhile, the new board, according to a press statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliu, has as its chairman, Alhaji Tijani Ramalan and Mrs.Ekong Usoro as the new Director-General and chief executive officer.
The president also approved the appointments of Oliver Ogbuagu and Dr. S.A Dosumu as executive directors, in charge of operations and administration, respectively. All the appointments took effect from August 1, 2006.
According to Babangida Aliu, "the president’s action is in line with the on-going reforms in the Federal Ministry of Transport," adding: "President Obasanjo also approved the merger of the Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) and the Joint Maritime Industrial Labour Council (JOMALIC).
"The new professionalised maritime organisation arising from this merger shall be known as the National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NAMASA) and a draft bill repealing the enabling Acts of NMA and JOMALIC, and giving birth to NAMASA is being forwarded to the National Assembly for legislative action", he added.
The permanent secretary maintained that it was in order to fast track the full implementation of these reforms that the president approved the dissolution of the NMA board and constituted the interim management board for NAMASA.
However, investigations showed that the board’s sack may not be unconnected with the interrogation of Ugwu and some directors of NMA. The directors quizzed along with Ugwu by both the British and Nigerian policemen, are: Ade Olopoenia, Adejare Sobayo, Awwal Markafi, Eze, A and C.C. Ezeala.
President Obasanjo, who was saddened by Williams’ death had, during a condolence visit to the home of Williams’ mother, rained curses on the killers.
Meanwhile, the NMA says the allegations against Ugwu and other topshots of the parastatal were false, adding that no money is missing in NMA’s accounts.
While regretting the murder of Williams, the NMA said that the former DG was “merely invited on Saturday, July 29th by the police in a routine manner and he duly reported within 24 hours alongside three other board members.”
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