Do you support the cancellation of the $195million maritime security contract by President Muhammadu Buhari?

Jean Chiazor Anishere (Maritime Lawyer)

I support the cancellation. We have spent so much on security and not much has been achieved to curb the attacks, especially in terms of Boko Haram, piracy and other criminal vices. I believe that our Government has to change its attitude towards its citizenry and practice what they preach.

 

Capt Tajudeen Alao (President, Master Mariners)

I do not support the move to commit the security of Nigerian waters into the hands of foreigners. If the Navy is empowered, I don’t think NIMASA should fund the Navy, Nigeria as a government should support total security on the water, we must not hand over our security to an Israeli firm. Are they going to secure up to Lokoja, if we dredge the River Niger from there to Baro, we should protect our waters by ourselves.

Gulf of Guinea extends to Sierra Leone, it is not the duty of Nigeria to secure the Gulf of Guinea, we must first secure our own waters up to 200 nautical miles and our Navy is capable. Under international law, you cannot go and secure another man’s water, it is another territory. We should empower our Navy with hundreds of patrol boat which we can afford, we should employ more men in the Navy and train them to secure the waters, not to go and call Israeli people. If not for militancy, our waters were very safe. 

Capt Alfred Oniye (Merchant Navy)

Buhari took the best decision and I respect that decision, that decision saved this country from the hand of cabals 

 

Comrade Tokunbo Korodo (NUPENG)

The amount is too much and it is very risky to expose our internal security to the outsiders, but if such amount if spent on our own security agencies, it will make better impact. If there is any capable one, result is what we need.

 

Comrade Julius Effokpo (Secretary, Merchant Navy Senior Staff)

I do not support the cancellation of the contract, you cannot ban an existing system without an alternative, before the cancellation of this contract, there should have been an alternative, probably the government is relying on the Navy, but the Navy are the security we have on our territorial waters and they would fight tooth and nail to make sure that they are not scrapped. You then allow another security agency; it means that the work of the Navy is irrelevant, so they would struggle with all their might to ensure that they are not scrapped, when the President now scraps that contract hoping that the Navy would live up to expectation. The Navy has proven insufficient for the size of the maritime sector, if you have no such security contract, there would be no other body to oversee activities of the Navy. 

Capt Adewale Ishola (Master Mariner)

I know the minister is trying to float another security contract, but it’s like they are talking about the due process aspect, it would have been a good alternative if we cannot get the Coast Guard working, the alternative is to engage a private security agency that can handle the security. Before now, we used to have same security contract with Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, but subsequently, what happened to that company is like throwing the baby away with the bathwater, if you remove the corruption area that has been identified and do proper arrangement, I think it would still work because a lot of things were put in place that time with NIMASA effectively in control, it was a highly intelligent security measure, but since that regime was dismantled and that was why we have this increase in piracy attacks. 

Rev Jonathan Nicol (President, SALS)

My view is that the government is in the position to know which one is the best arrangement for their security. And maybe the president is probably not too comfortable with the contract arrangement and you know it is a security issue. There must have been a loss of confidence and lots of pressures from different quarters that must have made the President to cancel the contract.  I understand government investigated the Israeli company and the government is not okay with it, we believe that if they look very well in Nigeria, government will get competent hands that can handle such contract. You know NIMASA is there and it is the work of NIMASA to supervise our waterways, and for another company abroad to supervise our waterways, that is not good for the country. 

Dr. Eugene Nweke (Ex-President, NAGAFF)

There is nothing wrong in securing our waterways and securing waterways requires money, you don’t secure waterways with an empty hand, you secure waterways with equipment and human resource and that is what we call territorial policing. Now, it is a normal thing to do for a well-meaning maritime nation, it is the application of the fund that the stakeholders are concerned with. If at the end of the day you ask yourself what is the pedigree of the people that want to secure the waterways. So if the Presidency suspects foul play, they should cancel it. If they suspect that the contract is not transparent enough, they should cancel it.

 

Mr. John Egesi (Ex NMA DG)   

If the thing is inflated, the contract has to be cancelled. So it depends on the ground upon which the President cancelled it, if it was cancelled on the ground of inflation, then it is a good one. But for any other reasons like if he cancelled it on the grounds that he doesn’t want Israeli to do it; that is wrong. If it is on moral reason that the contract is inflated he should cancel it, but he should also punish those who got the contract. It is not enough for you to cancel something without giving reasons and punishment. He should make the minister accountable for that, these are the things that call for proper sanctioning of the people that did that.•    

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