HURIWA Demands Prosecution of NIMASA Officials over Sale of 82 Vehicles for N5.8 Million

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed outrage over the recent revelation that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) sold 82 vehicles for the sum of N5.8 million over the past 12 years in a gross violation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and other relevant laws and regulations.

HURIWA described it as a clear case of economic sabotage, corruption, and abuse of public trust that must not go unpunished.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group condemned in strong terms the manner in which NIMASA disposed off public assets without due process, transparency, accountability, and fair value.

According to the statement, the vehicles, which were mostly in good condition and serviceable, were sold at ridiculously low prices to some officials and staff of the agency in a pre-arranged insider trading scheme, adding that the proceeds of the sales were not remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account as required by law, but rather paid into NIMASA’s coffers by the auctioneers who were hired to rubber stamp the fictitious transactions.

The Human rights group said it is shocked and disappointed that the NIMASA Executive Director, Mr. Chudi Offodile, who appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the disposal of public property by the agencies between 2010 and 2022, could not provide any documentary evidence to justify his claim that the sale followed due process, and admitting that he was not aware of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

HURIWA commended the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee, chaired by Hon. Julius Ihonbvere, for exposing the scandal and demanding for more documents and evidence from NIMASA and other agencies involved in the sale of public assets.

The group urged the committee to be thorough, diligent, and impartial in its inquiry, and to report its findings to the House and members of the public, as well as to “resist any attempt to use this as a bait to collect bribes and bury the matter, but rather ensure that this matter is logically concluded and culprits jailed”.

Comrade Onwubiko in the statement, called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene in the matter and order a full-scale investigation by the anti-corruption agencies into the activities of NIMASA and other agencies that have been accused of selling public assets without due process.

The Civil Rights Group also called on the President to review his appointments and ensure the appointments reflected merit, competence, diversity, and federal character, as he promised Nigerians during his campaign.
“We remind the president that his mantra of “Renewed Hope” is fast fading away, as Nigerians are becoming disillusioned by his nepotistic and lopsided appointments that favour his ethnic group and region.

HURIWA is committed to promoting human rights, democracy, good governance, and accountability in Nigeria. We will continue to monitor this issue and other issues that affect the public interest and welfare of Nigerians. We will not hesitate to speak out against any injustice, oppression, or corruption in our country. We call on all Nigerians to join us in this struggle for a better Nigeria”.

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