September 26, 2018.
Consultant to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Nigeria, Captain Thomas Kewemerigha has called for the audit of the Nigeria Seafarers’ Welfare Board (NSWB) account to bring about peace in the association.
Kemewerigha who is also the representative International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in Nigeria, condemned the call for the resignation of the Chairman and Secretary, Otunba Kunle Folarin and Hosea Kuje respectively, saying that the board members were rendering selfless service to the nation.
He said an audit of the board’s account would calm the nerves of those calling for their resignation during an interview in Lagos.
The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association and Concerned Seafarers recently called for the resignation of the chairman and secretary of the board stating that their tenure had lapsed.
The associations also alleged that the duo have flouted the regulations of the board by occupying the positions for more than a decade each arguing that the position should be rotational with each occupant leaving after two years.
But Kemewerigha said that the duo do not deserve the humiliation both men were made to undergo because of their commitment and dedication to the board.
He added that the body would have ceased to exist in Nigeria if not for the two officials who hold sway for the seafarer’s board over the years.
The former national president of the seafarers union said there may be need for the union to tender an apologize to the duo if not found wanting.
According to him, if the board members are found wanting, they should be prosecuted and if not, the people calling for their resignation should apologise to them.
“There is no need to scrap the welfare board rather we should encourage it and make it mandatory for all the end users of seafarers, the unions, NPA, Shippers’ Council, NIMASA as the custodian of welfare of seafarers to be contributing every month to the welfare of the board.
“If they want to remove them, they should write to NIMASA to replace Kuje. They should audit the account, if possible publish the account and at the end of the day, if any of such thing they were assuming does not happen, they should tender an apology to the people concerned.
“They should audit the account and if they are found wanting, they should indict them and if they find them innocent, they should apologise to them,” he noted .
“All the components that make up the welfare board are not paying their dues as they supposed to because the welfare board is not a profit making organisation.
“Every welfare board centre pay subscription to the centre in London.”
He accused the components bodies of the board in Nigeria for lackluster attitude towards funding the board.
He noted that NIMASA was the only organisation paying the subscription of the board to ITF in London on yearly basis to ensure that it was not scrapped by the parent body in London.