By Chioma Iruke
Over 350 staff of Global West Vessel Specialist, a major contractor to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), have cried out to the Federal Government over unpaid salaries spanning over five years.
In an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by the organizer of the group, Quarter Master Samsom Owolo, the workers called on President Buhari to intervene in the lingering issues and rescue them from their travails.
According to the letter, many staff of the company are dead due to poor welfare conditions – a fate that still awaits many of them.
The workers called on the government to release their salaries to avoid a protest at the NIMASA headquarters on September 30, 2021.
The letter reads, “Dear president, sometime in June 2015, you ordered NIMASA to stop payment to Global West Vessel Specialist until the investigation from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC was over.
“An order that placed more than 350 seafarers to the labour markets. It was a terrible experience for good 5-6 years from 2015 -2021.
“Workers salaries have been held down by the government, leading to the loss of life of many seafarers working with Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd.
“Our kids were out of school because there is no more money to pay for their school fees. We the staff of Global West Vessel Specialist as law abiding citizens have waited patiently from 2015 – 2020 June 15th after the court case was over between global west vessel specialist and the EFCC.
“We are in 2021 now and we are yet to receive our salaries. According to our management, the government is yet to approve the money to global west vessel specialist.
“How long more are the workers going to wait for their salaries? Staff’s are dying because of the hardship in the country, our family’s are suffering, what sin did we commit that deserves this kind of punishment from the government?
“Even after we have won the case in court someone in the government still decided to punish innocent staff’s that have Laboured for the betterment of this country by forcefully refusing to approve the payment to global west vessel specialist ltd even with all the efforts from global west to make the government see reasons, the government keep making it more difficult for global west vessel specialist to receive their payment.
“Global West Vessel Specialist Limited was charged alongside three other companies namely; Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited in relation to fraud allegations labeled against foremost Niger Delta warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo to the tune of ₦45.9 billion.
“Tompolo and his co-defendants which include Global West Vessel Specialist Limited were cleared of the charges on July 15, 2020 by Justice Ibrahim Buba Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos, upholding the no-case submission filed by the defendants.”