Members of the Senate Committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance on Tuesday faulted the control of Nigeria’s waterways by an Israeli firm, Systems and Technology Limited.
The contract was signed with the Israeli firm in 2017. It is worth $195.3 million.
The involvement of the Israeli firm in securing the Anchorage Area of the Nigerian Ports in Lagos came to the fore during the investigative hearing of the joint committees on alleged illegal security activities of Messrs Ocean Marine Solutions Limited at the ports.
Speaking at the Investigative hearing, the Chairman of Joint Panel, Senator George Sekibo, asked the Nigerian Navy whether it was aware that NIMASA had 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.
But Rear Admiral Tarioworio Dick, who represented the Navy, said the security outfit was expecting a vessel from an Israeli firm to boost its security operations in the waterways.
According to him: “I’m aware that there is a contract like that for provision of required facilities.”
Sekibo however replied: “What is their role?
“Are they to secure our waters or to provide you with platforms?”
The Naval Officer in his response insisted that the involvement of the Israeli firm was for platform provision and not direct security operations on Nigerian water ways.
He said: “For me, the aspect I have seen is that they are providing some platforms for the Nigerian Navy, which we are going to use.
“The vessels they are providing for us have not arrived Nigeria, but there will be weapons on these vessels.”
Not satisfied with response of the Chief of Naval Staff’s representative, a member of the Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC-Lagos West), asked him to explain to the committee who will be in charge of the ammunition on the vessels and the security implications involved.
But Rear Admiral Dick in his response said the vessels will be manned by Nigerian Navy personnel.
He said: “As I speak, one of the vessels is on the way.
“We have nine of our personnel on board that vessel.
“I am aware that the vessel is on the way.
“I am aware that the vessel will be armed, but I can’t tell you more than this.”
Two members of the Committee, Senators Francis Alimikhena and Betty Apiafi, lamented that the contract was a breach of National Security.
Alimikhena asked: “Don’t you this this will be breach on National Security?”
Also, Apiafi said: “The Navy has told us that internationally, foreign merchants are not allowed.
“Then why are they allowing this?”
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