FG, NPA calculated to push OMSL out of SAA, MD alleges

Hadiza Bala Usman

Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) has alleged a calculated attempt by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to push it out of operations with the agency offering explanation for terminating works with the firm.

OMSL has been responsible for provision of platform to the Nigerian Navy in the security at the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) on the nation’s sea.

Managing Director of OMSL, Ameen Ikioda, stated this while appearing before the Senate panel investigating the operations of OMSL at the SAA yesterday in Abuja.

He noted that the NPA never had any discussion with his company but allegedly got to know of the termination in the media after much investment in the project.

“What is painful is that they derogate my image and my integrity. I do not do business because of money. I have served this country meritoriously with my integrity intact,” he stated.

Speaking at the hearing, NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, said:
“The authority is of the view that the continued operation of the facility by the private entity (OMSL) is an unnecessary fixation that seeks to add cost to vessels calling at the ports. To the extent that additional security is required for the anchorage, such should be provided by the agency with statutory responsibility of providing same at no charge to vessel owners.”

The organisation further submitted that the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) being operated by OMSL in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy had been “dismantled.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator George Sekibo drew attention of all invited organizations to the fact that an Israeli vessel, with full complement of security officers and weapons, was arriving to execute the contract.

“Are you aware that NIMASA has given a contract called Deep Blue Sea to an Israeli company, HLSI, to the tune of $195.3 million for promoting security of the riverine area? I have the contract number here. Are you aware? Sekibo had asked the naval chief, who was represented by Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Tarioworio Dick.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, who confirmed the development, responded in the affirmative, stating: “I am aware that there is a contract like that and facilities are being provided. For me, the aspect I have seen is that they are providing some platforms for the Nigerian Navy which we are going to use.”

He however informed the committee that the Israeli security vessel would be mainly manned by the Nigerian Navy.

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