FG to acquire 80% HLSI assets by June 2020
By Kenneth Jukpor
The Federal Government took a stand on the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) contract operated by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), reiterating that such practice has been suspended and labeled it as illegal.
The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi reiterated this position during a press briefing on Lagos today, after a meeting with top shipping security agencies on Deep Blue Project with the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), among others.
His words: “The payment for private secure anchorage area should have stopped. I have told the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to write to all those involved. The moment you continue to pay for such services, you’re going against the laws of the land”
“What we are saying is that government must protect both persons and investments. You can’t impeach a governor for not providing social amenities but you can impeach a governor who cannot provide security of lives and properties. This goes to show the crucial place of security”
The Minister also revealed that made the initial decision to terminate the contract and not the NPA Managing Director.
“I told the owner of OMSL that the Managing Director of NPA took that decision. It was my decision to terminate that contact and I took that decision because there is nowhere in the world where private individuals are tasked with protecting or securing a nation. It shows that there is a failure in governance and as Minister of Transportation, if I allowed that to continue it means that I have also failed”, he added.
The Minister also expressed regret on the upsurge in maritime insecurity in recent times, noting that the meeting was about security in the maritime sector with emphasis on the maritime architecture known as the Deep Blue Project.
Speaking on the assets acquired for the HLSI project, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside assured that 80% of the equipment will be delivered by June this year.
“Six interceptor boats are in the country, the first special mission vessel arrived in December last year and the second one is coming in before the end of February. The first special mission aircraft will be in the country before the end of the first quarter of this year. Six armoured aircrafts are the country already and the first unmanned vehicle would come in before the end of February.”
“We expect the first helicopter in the first quarter of this year. Almost all the communication gadgets are in the country as well as the personal gear. The C4i centre is fully operational in Kirikiri, the NIMASA Research Centre. Those are the assets we have on ground. However, between now and June this year over 80 percent of the assets would be in the country and they would be man by Nigerian military,” the NIMASA Director General said.
Although the security assets would be provided by the Israeli company, the Transport Minister pointed out that the company would only acquire the assets and train Nigerians to operate them.
“It is very important to correct the impression that we are handing over our waters to Israelis to man. They would only provide training and equipment while the Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army, Department of State Security Service among others that would run the equipment”, he said.
He also asserted that the long term goal will be to have the Navy take control of the security apparatus, as other members of the armed forces would only support the Navy during the takeoff stage.