The Senate has sought for the proper funding of the Nigerian Navy to enable it procure needed vessels to clear the over 150 vessels deficit.
The Senate said that the funding would enable the navy carry out its constitutional responsibilities without over depending on Private Maritime Logistics Support Companies (PMLSC).
This followed the adoption of the Senate’s report on Joint Committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance and presented by the Chairman Sen. George Sekibo during the plenary.
Presenting the report, Sekibo said that the Senate had on Nov. 7, debated a motion on the illegal security activities by Messrs Ocean Marine Solutions Ltd. (OMSL) at the Safe Anchorage Area (SAA) of Lagos ports.
“The motion was referred same to the joint committee to investigate the matter aimed at determining the legality of the operations; its revenue and security implications.
“The Senate unanimously agreed to investigate the matter due to its monumental security implications at the Nigerian sea and ports as well as failure to remit funds to the Federation account as alleged by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)”, he said.
Among other resolutions by the Senate was that OMSL should be allowed to continue its operation until such a time when a better and more cost effective system is put in place by the government.
Contributing, Sen. Ahmed Kaita (APC-Katsina North), expressed concern over the nation’s hand over of its marine security to private entity while the nation had a navy.
He said: “we invited heads of parastatals and they justified it based on security. We can’t mortgage our security based on adhoc arrangement.
“We shouldn’t take the interest of anybody against the interest of Nigeria. This report is lopsided and it won’t help the security of this country.”
Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central) said that OMSL should be allowed to be in operations until the nation was able to measure up and close the gap of its vessels to man the nation’s marine asset to contain pirate attacks.
“There is nothing illegal in OMSL operation, for now we can’t chase them away,’’ Goje said.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan said that Nigeria had no option but to stick to the deal that would continue to provide safety for ships berthing on Nigerians shores thereby guaranteeing the nation’s aspiration towards sustaining increased revenue.
“I think we have a challenge here, which is, that, if we do not like what this company is doing we should bring our own. Until we are able to do that, I think we have to continue with the present arrangement.’’
The president of the Senate expressed disappointment that such grim reality existed in the Navy and it was been discussed at the plenary.
The President of the Senate then urged the committee on Navy to look into the matter and evolve measures to improve their capacity to man the nation water ways.