The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has invited Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation, over an alleged $195 million contract scam. Also invited were Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, director general, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the contractor, HLSI Firm Security and Technology.
According to the report gathered, they are all expected to appear before the committee on Tuesday, December 19 and explain their roles in the awarding of a contract on the monitoring of the country’s waterways to an Israeli firm HLSI Firm Security and Technology. It was reported that 10 Civil Society Organisations wrote a petition to Yakubu Dogara, the speaker of the House of Representative on the security implication of awarding a foreign company the contract of monitoring the country’s waterways.
Based on the petition, the speaker reportedly ordered all the parties involved to appear before the committee. In the petition titled: Petition on the ceding of Nigerian coastal waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and commercialisation of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd”, the contract was described “as an aberration to our sovereignty to National Security: “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.” Members of the committee had called on the government to stay action on the planned $195 million concession of the waterways to private entities pending outcome of investigation.
Uzoma Abonta who is the chairman of the committee said investigation has commenced into the petition they received. Abonta said: “We have vowed to support the government of President Buhari to block all economic leakages as well as security issues to enable the government to do the needful in our economic strife.” Meanwhile, Amaechi stated that the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, only has one agenda, which is Amaechi. He made his comments during an interview session on a Channels TV programme, Question Time. NAIJ.com notes that the minister stated that no matter where Wike is, he always had him (Amaechi) on his mind.