Amaechi, CNS, DG NIMASA Appears Before Reps C’ttee Over $195m Maritime Security Contract    

Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Dr Dakuku Peterside and the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas have been summoned by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions to appear before it on Tuesday (today) over their roles in the $195 million maritime security contract awarded to an Israeli firm, HLSI Firm Security and Technology. It was gathered that the contractor, HLSI Firm Security and Technology was also billed to appear before the committee over the alleged contract.  Speaker Yakubu Dogara had received a petition by 10 Civil Society Organisations, which cited security implications of a foreign firm being given the contract of securing the country’s waters. Recall that the committee had also last Thursday, cautioned the Federal Government and all other parties involved in the planned $195 million security contract to a private company, to stay action pending the outcome of its investigation into the matter. In the petition titled, “Petition on the Ceding of Nigerian Coastal Waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd. This is an aberration to our Sovereignty to National Security,”  the petitioners stated, "Ceding our waterways and the critical national assets therein to foreign firms will definitely undermine the constitutional role of the Nigerian Armed Forces as prescribed by law and expose our nation to glaring Security risks and ridicule among the comity of nations." They had in the petition, urged the Speaker to investigate the $195m contract particularly the procurement process leading to the pick of the said company. Chairman of the Public Petitions Committee; Uzoma Nkem Abonta, revealed that his committee was ready to commence investigation into a petition before the House asking for a thorough probe into the processes surrounding moves to give the management and security of Nigeria's waterways to an Israeli security firm despite the existence of statutory agencies, such as the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA. Abonta said, "As legislators, we have vowed to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to block all economic leakages as well as security issues to enable the government to do the needful in our economic strife. To that effect, any issue that's a threat to the nation's security will be treated with dispatch. "We have scheduled the matter to do a public hearing to know the kind of concession that is to be done. We can't conclude until we hear from all parties. We want to call on all the persons concerns, minister of Transportation, Defence Ministry and the minister, the companies involved to stay action until all the issues are resolved. “The Navy too will come. In the end, it may be something good for Nigeria, but we have to look at the issues holistically.” 

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