Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has petitioned the National Assembly following a recent report in the media that indicated that the Ministry of Transportation is contracting the security of Nigerian coastal waterways to an Israeli firm, HSLI security firms and technologies, at the cost of $195millon.
The coalition which consists of 12 CSOs said initially, it thought the reports were hoax and a mental invention of the reporters, but considering its wide reportage in national dailies until the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was quoted to have confirmed it recently at the world maritime day event.
The coalition in a statement signed yesterday by Solomon Adodo said it behooves on it to point out the grave security implication of ceding the patrol of the countryâ€™s waterways to foreign countries and firms which it said was a gross violation of Nigerian status as a sovereign country.
The coalition alleged that â€œthe Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali Mohammed, in concert with some individuals and foreign firms threw the Nigerian Navy out of our water ways, and has orchestrated a proposal which will be presented to the Federal Executive Council next week to cede the constitutional powers of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Limited in exchange for the delivery of 100 fast boats to the Nigerian navy.
â€œIn order to recoup its investment, Shorefac Consortium Limited will be technically dedicated to the maintenance of the vessels while acting in another capacity as a commercial partner to the navy. Why are they desperate to remove the policing of our waterways from the Nigerian navy which is its constitutional provisions? The purpose of all this is to steal and divert our crude oil through the back door to global destination and to short change the country. If the waterways are not effectively policed by the navy, then somebody must want that loophole to make gains.â€
Adodo emphasised that â€œthis clandestine moveâ€ contravenes the provision of the 1999 constitution as amended chapter 4 part 3 section 217 sub section 1 and 2 that states that: there shall be an armed force for the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly. The federation shall , subject to an act of the National Assembly made on that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of (a) defending Nigeria on land, sea, or air (c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly and (d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly.â€
It also negates the provision of part1 section 4 and particularly sub section A of the Armed Force Act.
â€œWe therefore urged the National Assembly to thoroughly investigate among others the procurement process to the award of the contract of $195 million to HSLI Security and technologies and also, look into the terms and contractual agreement of the contract of award of $195 million to HSLI Security f and technologies,â€ it stated.