L-R: Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman and Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello at a stakeholders forum on implementation of the executive order in Warri, Delta State yesterday
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has threatened to reveal names of politicians, government officials and private security outfits whom he alleged were frustrating the execution of the $195million maritime security contract approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2017.
Speaking at a maritime stakeholders’ interactive forum on the implementation of the executive order on Ease of Doing Business in Warri, Delta State yesterday, Amaechi said that he is aware of some powerful Nigerians who are frustrating the security contract from being implemented because they are the same people profiting from the insecurity on Nigerian waters.
According to him, should the challenge of executing the maritime security contract become unbearable for the transportation ministry, he would come out publicly to mention the names of the cabals.
He said "the President approved a contract of $195m and there are people in the system sabotaging that contract that will restore security in the water"
"I won't say who they are until it gets out of control, we are still battling for the contract to take place, but if it gets out of place, we will name them including the security people".
Speaking further, he said ‘’there are people who make billions of dollars from the water, so they don't want security on the water because if we secure the water all this rubbish will go. What happened to an approval that was even given about two years ago?"
Perhaps giving a hint, the Minister stated that there are some security outfits operating in Nigeria who provide vessels and security patrols for oil companies in the name of security contract.
He said that the moment the $195million security contract is allowed to scale through, such outfits would lose their jobs which according to him runs into millions of Naira. He said that these security companies also provide security men for hire to oil and gas companies.
While responding to the plight of indigenous shipowners in Nigeria, Amaechi said "As for the shipowners, you need to do a petition to the President, you must behave like activists and learn to act like the students, you might have to stage a public match in order to attract government attention"
"You must give us the statistics how much you are losing so that you can complain to the President" he advised.
The Minister said that the Eastern Ports are not viable for shipping because of the 'War Insurance Premium" placed on vessels coming to the Nigeria’s Delta region. According to him, because of the restiveness in Warri and Port Harcourt, it has become cheaper to import through Lagos Port.
"The reason vessels will not come to eastern port is because there is war insurance, the war insurance means if the goods cost N10,000 in Lagos, you will get it N20,000 here( eastern port ) because there is extra cost on it"
"There is insecurity also in Lagos, but it is worst here in eastern port. Even as a minister, I can't enter boat from Warri to Port Harcourt, but I can move around Lagos at any time of the day", he said.