The Federal Government never approved the establishment of the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) contract run by Ocean Marine Security Limited (OMSL) with the Nigerian Navy in Lagos, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, has said.
Fielding questions during a television interview on AIT at the weekend, Amaechi said the operation of OMSL on Lagos waters is illegal and has not improved the security situation on Nigerian waters.
He also argued that if the ‘OMSL –Navy contract’ were effective, Nigeria would not have soared from being the world’s number three in maritime insecurity to being the world’s number one as it is today, within a couple of years.
He explained that Government is already holistically addressing the challenge of insecurity by acquiring the needed infrastructure to secure the nation’s waters through the Deep Blue project anchored by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and would not allow duplication of efforts in this direction.
Amaechi who stressed the need to allow national interest thrive over individual gains disclosed that the Federal Government has not earned any revenue from the OMSL contract in the many years it has existed in spite of thousands of dollars paid daily to the organisation by each vessel calling into Lagos.
“What security was he providing? He charges each vessel on the waters $2,500, then after that $1,500 everyday. He doesn’t pay back that money to the Federal Government.
“He makes $17million from that activity. Who approved it? Nobody! So as Minister for Transport, I said no, we can provide that security. $195 million was approved by the Federal Government to a company that is training Nigerians that will take over the waterways, and take care of the security, then Okunbo is now saying “no no, I must do it”, he can’t. I wonder why our personal interest will override national interest. I wonder what kind of country we belong to.
“If you said Captain Hosa was doing it, how come we are currently ranked number one in the world in terms of insecurity in the maritime sector. When we came, we were number three, but now we are number one in the world.
“Now the second aspect beyond ranking number one in the world in insecurity is the fact that we are notorious as a country in the whole of Gulf of Guinea; 80 per cent of the crimes in the Gulf of Guinea is committed in Nigerian waters,” Amaechi stated.