Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate has threatened to order the arrest of the Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, if he fails to appear before its joint committee on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance on Thursday.
The committee investigating the N263.89billion illegal security services carried out by the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited ( OMLS) at the Safe Anchorage Area in Lagos Ports , issued the threat Wednesday when the NIMASA DG failed to appear before it .
Chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo gave Peterside up till Thursday to appear before the committee unfailingly failure which a warrant of arrest will be issued against him by the Senate .
Said he: “This investigative hearing supposed to have been held last week but shifted to allow the NIMASA DG and other key players in Marine Transport to attend the IMO conference which took place in London last weekend. It is annoying that after that grace given to him , he still refused to appear before us today . This is unacceptable as submitted by other members of the committee and on account of this, the Committee is giving him another chance to honour our invitation on Thursday, 5th December 2019 by 3pm prompt .”If the NIMASA DG to fails to appear in person before this committee tomorrow ( today), warrant of arrest will be issued against him by the Senate for that purpose “ , he warned
Although the NIMASA DG was represented at the investigative hearing by the Principal Legal Officer of the Agency, Haruna Argungu but the committee refused to honour him in that capacity and walked him out of the session in the presence of the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.
Trouble for the NIMASA DG started when the committee Chairman, read out list of heads of Marine Transport agencies invited for the hearing and discovered that the NIMASA DG , was not present.
Though Peterside’s repre-sentative made spirited efforts to justify the absence of his boss , but the Committee Chairman and other members like Senators Muhammad Danjuma Goje, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, Betty Apiafi, dismissed his explanations as balderdash.
While Argungu in his explanations said the NIMASA DG couldn’t make it because of International Maritime Organisation ( IMO) conference he attended in London few days back, Senator Goje who also attended the conference in his capacity , as Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport , countered him saying “I also attended the conference and I am here now”.
Goje further stressed that even the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, attended the same conference and honoured the committee’s invitation.
His words: “Your explanation that the NIMASA DG couldn’t make it to this investigative hearing because of IMO conference he attended in London few days back is not tenable because I was also at the conference and even Senator Gbemisola Saraki , the Minister of State for Transportation was there and both of us are here now.
“Mr. Chairman, the NIMASA DG should should look for another excuse for not honouring the committee’s invitation which to me is unacceptable”, he said.
Earlier in her submission before the committee, Senator Saraki, said OMSL contract on security services at the ports has not been suspended or dismantled as claimed by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA ), Hadiza Usman on Tuesday.
She explained to the committee that the Ministry has scheduled a meeting with all stakeholders on the security services at the Ports next Monday in Lagos.