The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s DG Patrick Akpobolokemi, explains the controversial decision to outsource a part of the agency’s security responsibilities
NIMASA DG Explains N16bn Maritime Security Deal
About two months after reports that the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) leased out its maritime security responsibility to a private firm rocked the air waves, the director general of the agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi has said the agency took the decision because it lacked funds needed to provide security on the nation’s vast maritime domain.
The DG, who said this at a stakeholders’ forum on the concession deal, which has generated immense controversy, explained that having gone through due process, including the ICRC, the agency still retained its coastal, flag and port states responsibilities. He added that these were never in any guise ceded to Global West Vessel Specialist Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL), which got the 10-year tenure concession contract.
He said, “Nigeria has a very large maritime domain, requiring enormous funds to secure. The level of funding needed to acquire, operate and maintain requisite platforms are enormous and beyond the reach of the agency.
“In addition to this challenge are the huge losses being incurred by the country in form of oil bunkering and various revenue leakages. So, this informed our decision to seek expert partnership in providing needed security surveillance systems and patrol boats among others.”
The $103.4 million (about N16 billion) concession contract, which is renewable for two terms of five years each and no more, include patrol of Nigerian waters from Calabar to Lagos by the private firm.
According to the agency’s head of public-private partnership unit, Rex Ellem, “In the concession, the private partner is to supply the platforms with surveillance systems, operate (crew) and maintain them throughout the concession.
“The concessionaire is to make the platforms and surveillance systems available to NIMASA in a good and perfect condition during the concession period and it is a no cure no pay agreement. The private partner will be paid only if by the deployment of the platforms, NIMASA is able to improve on its revenue.”
The executive director, maritime safety and standards, Ishaku Shekarau, who defended ownership of the company reported to have an ex-militant, Tompolo, on the board, noted that the private partner, (GWVSNL), had worked with the agency in the past to fill up leakages in the agency’s revenue functions and even recovered hidden revenue.
“In 2008 when the maritime development committee headed by the transport minister was set up by the Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua administration, this particular partner was one of the companies identified to help stop revenue leakages.”