23 January 2012
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised the alarm over an alleged plan by the federal government to hand over the nation’s maritime security to a private firm.
The said firm, Global West Vessel Specialist Agency (GWVSL), is allegedly owned by an ex-warlord Chief Government Ekpemukpolo aka Tompolo.
It is reported that the federal government has concluded plans to concession the security of the country’s maritime sector to the former warlord.
In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, and made available to LEADERSHIP, the ACN wondered if the alleged move by the federal government was part of the agenda being pursued in recent times by a group that has been championing parochial nationalism in the wake of the fuel subsidy debate.
The party queried the rationale behind the memo that was presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) this month seeking the council’s approval for a “so-called strategic concession partnership between NIMASA and Global West Vessel Specialist Agency (GWVSL) to enforce regulatory compliance and surveillance of the entire Nigerian Maritime Domain”.
The statement observed that the action raised more serious concern when viewed against the backdrop of government’s decision to withdraw a bill before the National Assembly that would have created a Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) to carry out the same functions now being outsourced to a private firm under a suspicious concession plan.
The statement reads in part: “Let us say here that while there is nothing wrong in the use of concessions to provide and maintain infrastructure, it is totally unacceptable - even unprecedented especially in a fragile federation as ours - for any government to hand over the security of its entire maritime domain to a private firm. It is unconscionable that a decision that will have far-reaching implications for trade, security, ports and shipping will be taken so lightly, without a rigorous national debate.