Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman (R), Port Manager, Tin Can Island Port, Engr. Emmanuel Akporherhe, National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto (L) and another stakeholder, when the MD paid a working visit to clearing agent offices recently engulfed by fire at Tin Can Island Port
The Nigerian Navy has kicked against the multi-million Dollar maritime security contract that was awarded to an unnamed Israeli firm. The contract is meant for the patrol of the nation’s maritime domain.
The $195Million contract was announced last November in Lagos by the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi during the 2017 World Maritime Day celebrations.
But, last week the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, choose the visit of members of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy to the command in Apapa, Lagos to vent the Navy’s opposition to the contract.
He told the lawmakers that the Command has recorded successes in the efforts to curb maritime crimes.
“Since June 2017, the patrol efforts at sea, complemented by the Maritime Domain Awareness Assets led to the arrest of some vessels found carrying illegal activities at the sea.
”It is pertinent to state that most of these vessels have been handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies.
”This is in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s maritime environment,’’ he said.
He however lamented that the recent contract is akin to giving the statutory role of the Navy to a foreigner.
Responding, Chairman of the Committee, Abdussamad Dasuki, flayed the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the contract.
He said ceding patrol of the nation’s waterways and other critical national asset to such foreign company was to the detriment of the navy.
He added that the constitutional role of the navy was to safeguard and patrol the coastal waters and the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
“The maritime trust fund fell under maritime security and anti-piracy, thus the move to circumvent the navy out of its constitutional roles will not be allowed to happen.
“One of the challenges we are having at the House has to do with the sister agency of the government which is NIMASA.
“A situation whereby it’s giving out jobs that are ideal for the Nigerian Navy and contractors in Nigeria to foreigners, especially jobs that have to do with our security, is not acceptable,’’ he said.
“We have the Nigerian Navy and it should be empowered. We should promote what we do locally so I see no reason why we cannot contract the job to them.
“It is not acceptable and we have made it loud and clear. We will continue to work until something is done about that particular situation,’’ he said.
The FOC also told the lawmakers that the navy arrested 19 vessels carrying out illegal activities within the nation’s territorial waters last year.
Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, disclosed that the vessels were arrested for illegalities ranging from piracy, crude oil theft, illegal and unregulated fishing, sea robbery, amongst others.
“The arrested vessels included MT Wollorf, MT Vine, MT Glenstar, MT Sisi Comfort, MT DA Chris, MT Dove 1, Lurongyuanyu 215, Lurongyuanyu 216,
Others were; Lurongyuanyu 217, Lurongyuanyu 218, MT Matrix 1, Hai Long, Marion, Arc Charley, MT Thyword, MT Queen of Peace, MT United Venture, MT United Trador and MV Miracle,’’ he said.