Contrary to the position of the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), the Minister of State, Transportation, Gbemi Saraki has said that the controversial Secure Anchorage Area contract that was awarded to Ocean Marine Solutions Ltd. (OMSL) has not been suspended.
In what appeared as a sharp disagreement between the supervisory Ministry of Transportation and the NPA, she told the Senate Joint Committee on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance that is investigating the N263.89 billion security services contract being carried out by OMSL that the contract has neither been “suspended nor dismantled” as claimed by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority; Hadiza Bala Usman.
The minister explained to the committee that the ministry had scheduled a meeting with all stakeholders on the security services at the ports for December 9, in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the Senate Joint Committee has asked the Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Dr Dakuku Peterside, to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday.
Dakuku had failed to appear before the panel but was represented at the hearing by the Principal Legal Officer of the agency, Mr Haruna Argungu.
The Committee Chairman, Sen. George Sekibo, told Argungu to inform Peterside to appear before the committee unfailingly on Dec. 5, failure of which a warrant of arrest would be issued against him by the Senate.
The committee refused to honour Argungu in that capacity by walking him out of the session in the presence of the Minister of State, Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki.
Trouble for the NIMASA boss started when Sekibo read out list of heads of Marine Transport agencies invited for the hearing and discovered that Peterside was not personally present.
Sekibo further said that “the investigative hearing was supposed to have been held earlier but shifted to allow Peterside and other key players in Marine Transport to attend the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conference which took place in London.
“It is annoying that after that grace given to him, he still refused to appear before us.
“This is unacceptable as submitted by other members of the committee,” Sekibo said.