By Olusegun Owen in Port Harcourt
Crisis is now brewing at one of the nation’s port operation complex, the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), managed by APM in Onne, Rivers State following the wrongful termination of the appointment of the Nigerian security manager by the Pakistani management of the facility led by Mr. Aamir Khalil Mirza.
It was gathered that the management of the company had allegedly laid off some Managers that worked with the previous administration, a move which was resisted by the Security Manager, Mr. Fubara Awanta.
Following the termination of his appointment without due process, Awanta had petitioned the federal government, the security agencies, the Nigeria Ports Authority and the NIMASA complaining of wrongful termination of appointment and alleging malpractices at the complex.
According to the Petition which was signed by Awanta, the operation of the WACT has been characterized by illegalities, malpractices and work place violence which eventually ended with the wrongful termination of staff employment without recourse to due Process and due diligence.
In the petition addressed to the Managing Director of NPA, Ajia Adiza Bala Usman, Awanta, stated that “I was duly employed as security manager at WACT managed by APM Terminals on 10th August 2009.
“I have worked for nine years and a certified Port Facility Security Officer with a wide scope security experience. On assumption at WACT, to enthrone safety and security of lives and consignments at the terminal, I set up a Strategic Integrated Security Network to monitor and regulate Movements of Persons and Cargo clearance aimed to avert any possible breach in security and safety at the terminal and enhance clientele patronage.”
He however complained that situation took a new dimension once a new man, Mr. Mirza Aamir khalil, a pakistani nationality took over as the New Managing Director
He said no sooner had Khalil took over, he began the systematic sacking of Senior management staff that had worked harmoniously with the former Managing Director, Mr. Martins Jacob.
Awanta cried that events leading to the wrongful termination of his appointment began on the 30th November 2018, when Khalil, “invited me to his office at about 1320hrs in his office and requested I should resign my appointment as security Manager of WACT or he will terminate it with no explanation.”
In a swift reaction, “I declined the offer, went to my office to continue with my job function but I was wALked out by some armed Policemen from my office to the Car Park.”
Subsequently, “On 3rd December 2018. I came to work only to find out that my finger print could not access the turnstile to enable me enter into the administrative section of West Africa Container Terminal, Onne.
“I have not received any verbal warning, written warning, query, reprimand, gross Misconduct of any sort for the period I worked at WACT, managed by APM terminals.”
In addition I have always had good performances as reflected in my appraisals score card from 2009 till 2018. I have not written or sign any letter of resignation neither did i receive and sign any original copy letter terminating my employment with no explanation from the Management of WACT Managed by APM Terminals, even though Aamir has directed the circulation of rejionders that I’m not in the employment of WACT thereby displaying Anti-Labour Practice.
Furthermore Aamir is still boasting that he will sack the remaining Managers that worked with the previous administration.
He asserted that he had reported Aamir unprofessional attitude, act of bullying, racism, act of violence against him to the security consulting firm of APM Terminals named Control Risk on 20th October 2018 when Mr. Adedeji came to WACT for a Security review.”
Awanta said that he does not deserve what happened to him given what he had done for the terminal.
“With my core competencies in national security, conflict resolution, maritime security, port security, intelligence analysis, investigation, business continuity I set up the security architecture that was not in existence in 2009 at WACT.
“This security strategy is still be utilized in the facility currently with a lot of positive achievement ranging from nil sanction from the designated authority from PICOMSS to NIMASA, the receipt of yearly statement of compliance from 2009 till 2018.
“Furthermore the CSR Strategy that I initiated in 2009 has brought about an enduring peace and business continuity with the host communities.
“May I reiterate that I have always had good performance as reflected in my appraisals score card from 2009 till 2018, and have never had any verbal warning, any form of reprimand, gross misconduct from 2009 till 2018.
“Also I have not written or sign any letter of resignation neither did I receive or sign any original copy letter terminating my employment, even though Aamir has directed the circulation of rejoinders that I’m not in the employment of WACT displaying anti-labour practice.
Aamir is known to exhibit act of racism.
“For instance he chased away a former chief operating officer of WACT Managed by APM Terminals named Denrick Moos that worked with the previous Managing Director. Denrick created the operational structure in existence at WACT.”
He said that Aamir has displayed this act of racism with Onne Port Stakeholders ranging from the Port Manager NPA Onne Port that has complained severally of his unpleasant attitude in meeting forum.
“Also the flat and cargo union executives have complained bitterly of his unfriendly disposition with them. Severally they have threatened to embark on strike action but I had to intervene to prevent untoward development in the terminal that can have a severe impact on the business.
“Furthermore he has had a running battle with Onne community the major host community to the business unit. He will not take professional advisory on CSR strategy despite knowing that the Niger Delta is a complex working environment.
“Based on his racist deposition, he has been on the point with the community which has never been recorded with previous MD’s of the terminal. This behaviour is injurious to the business and has affect business continuity.
“In addition his public relations with Customs is regrettable in Onne Port. Personally I have complained about Aamir unprofessional attitude, act of bullying against me to a rep of the security consulting firm (Control Risk) of APM Terminals on 20th October 2018 when the individual came to WACT Onne for a security review.
“I told him that in Feb 2016, Aamir unilaterally refused me to participate in a Hostile Environment Awareness Training in London, despite payment of course fee by APM Terminals corporate headquarters. This course had over 30 security managers from the APM Terminals group that partook in the training.
“In addition, In august 2018 ECOWAS sent an invitation for me as a certified Port Facility Security Officer to participate in a security seminar. He refused me to participate, instead he said he will send someone from the finance department to attend and the person will give me feedback.
He said that the APM Terminals did not carry out due diligence on Aamir because this trait was exhibited by him in his last place of work, Maersk Line Lagos/ Port Harcourt where staff were celebrating when his contract elapsed.
All efforts to get the both the WACT Managed by APM Terminals and Mr. Aamir Khalil’s comments proved abortive.
*West Africa Container Terminal, Onne, Rivers State.