A diver, Mr Jason Kuru has been banned for one year by the Hyperbaric Medical Practitioners Society of Nigeria (HMPSN) for alleged forgery of his medical certificate.
The Chief Inspector of Diving, Mr Julius Ugwala in a statement on Tuesday noted that Kuru had also blackmailed him over failure to secure a contract with a diving firm.
According to Ugwala, Kuru had through social media, propagated that he, Ugwala, had denied him endorsement but through findings, it was revealed that Kuru forged his medical records.
“Kuru, had approached the Chief Diving Inspector after futile attempts to secure a job with his fake certificates.
“The Inspector pulled strings for Kuru only to discover that the unemployed diver forged the medical certificate which he forwarded to his would be employers, who upon verification found it to be false,” he said.
Also, Ugwala’s media team had personally advised Kuru covertly to get the right medical reports but Kuru turned around to blackmail Ugwala, accusing him of shutting his path to employment.
“We feel sorry for the present condition of Kuru. We understand such a situation will be of concern to our comrade and us. However, we recommend our comrade to talk less.
“The Diving Governing Board will be disappointed that a Nigerian Diver is involved in the forgery of the medical certificate from a recognised hospital and attempt to trick a Diving contractor- Hydrodive Nig Limited.
“If not for effective internal verification measures by the diving company in line with the Diving at Work Regulation, 2018, Kuru would have got into the field with a forged medical certificate.
“This would have posed a critical safety/ operational challenge to the team and project,” the team said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Diving Inspector posited that as a member of the National Association of Professional Divers (NAPROD), he had distanced himself from such criminal action and apologised on behalf of Nigerian divers.
He also called for NAPROD to take matters of forgery and unprofessional conduct seriously by ensuring its internal process allows for disciplining of erring parties.
“We assure International Oil Companies (IOCs) that the Chief Inspector of Diving will not hesitate to take it further through legitimate means to ensure the individual is held accountable for his actions.
“We call on comrades to repudiate such action to kick-start the change required in the sector. If truly they want to succeed, they should be ready to discipline ourselves.
“If a diver can get involved in a serious crime of such magnitude, how do we expect multinationals and indigenous companies to have respect for us if we keep silent?
“I urge all diving personnel working on the Nigerian territorial waters to stop getting involved in actions that have the capacity to dent the image of Nigeria and its divers,” Ugwala said.
He, however, assured that the Diving Advisory Board remains committed to stipulated safety standards, while he sent kudos to Hyperbaric Doctors for giving the needed support to ensure safe diving sector in the nation.
Also, the President of the Hyperbaric Medical Practitioners Society of Nigeria (HMPSN), Dr Kayode Oguleye, who confirmed the forgery incident said that Jason Kuru had been banned for a year for his misconduct.
“We learnt that Kuru has a medical condition affecting both eyes.
“They have worsened over years and for that, was issued a report as being unfit which he altered and presented to Hydrodive.
“But the company upon its verification found it to be false,” he said.