More facts have emerged on why the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has urged the presidency and other parties involved in the planned $195million concession of nation’s waterways to stay action pending the outcome of its investigation into the matter.
Whereas the investigation will begin proper this week, invitations have been sent to parties including the Nigeria Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Federal Ministry of Transportation, among others, to appear before the committee.
Giving insights in an interview with Business Hilights Abuja Bureau chief, chairman of the committee, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia) said the decision to investigate the matter followed series of petitions demanding probe into the processes surrounding the move to give the management and security of the waterways to an Israeli security firm despite the existence of statutory agencies like the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA.
It would be recalled that several civil society organizations had petitioned the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara over the alleged $195million security contract awarded to an Israeli firm to patrol Nigerian waters by the Rotimi Ameachi-led Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Defence.
The petitioners’ in unison, queried “the Ceding of Nigerian Coastal Waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd,” arguing that hurried and surreptitious way and manner it was awarded poses a threat to national security and sovereignty of the country.
They also noted that the deal represents an aberration to rule of law and abuse of naval statutory rule of engagements.
According to the petitioners’ “Ceding our waterways and the critical national assets therein to foreign firms will definitely undermine the constitutional role of the Nigerian armed forces as prescribed by law and expose our nation to glaring security risks and ridicule among the comity of nations”.
Further findings show that no country in Africa is under the surveillance contract of a foreign company other than their national Navy.