Reps halt $195 million waterways concession, begin investigation

Members of the House of Representatives at a plenary. PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

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.

According to the committee, the investigation will be carried out next week. Letters are being dispatched to the Nigeria Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Federal Ministry of Transportation, among others, inviting them to appear before the committee.

At a press briefing, chairman of the committee, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia) said the decision to investigate the matter followed a petition 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.

Some 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 groups, in the “Petition on the Ceding of Nigerian Coastal Waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd” described the contract as an aberration, a threat to national security and sovereignty of the country.

“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,” the petition reads.

The groups therefore appealed to the Speaker to investigate the contract, particularly the procurement process leading to the choice of the said company.

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