23 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos —The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday threatened to reveal names of politicians, government officials and private security outfits whom he alleged were frustrating the $195million security contract approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2017.
Speaking at a maritime stakeholders’ interactive forum on the implementation of the executive order in Warri, Delta State yesterday, Amaechi charged Nigerian shipowners to write a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, and also adopt activism approach in getting governments’ attention to the challenges in the maritime sector.
The Minister told stakeholders that he is aware of some powerful Nigerians frustrating the security contract from being implemented because they are the same people profiting from the insecurity on Nigerian waters.
According to him, should the challenge become unbearable for the transport ministry, he would come out publicly to mention the names of the cabals.
He said, “The President approved a contract of $195m and there are people in the system sabotaging that contract that will restore security in the water”.
“I won’t say who they are until it gets out of control, we are still battling for the contract to take place, but if it gets out of place we will name them including the security people.”
“There are people who make billions of dollars from the water so they don’t want security on the water because if we secure the water all this rubbish will go. What happened to an approval that was even given about two years ago?” He said.
The Minister reiterates that there are some security outfits operating in Nigeria who provides vessels and security patrols for oil companies in the name of the security contract.
He said that the moment the $195million security contract is allowed to scale through, such outfits would lose their jobs which according to him runs into millions of Naira. He said that these security companies also provide security men for hire to oil and gas companies.
While responding to the plight of indigenous shipowners in Nigeria, Amaechi said “As for the shipowners, you need to do a petition to the President, you must behave like an activist and learn to act like the students, you might have to stage a public match in order to attract government attention”.
“You must give us the statistics how much you are losing so that you can complain to the President,” he said.
The Minister said that the Eastern Ports are not viable for shipping because of the ‘War Insurance Premium” placed on vessels coming to the Nigeria Delta region. According to him, because of the restiveness in Warri and Port Harcourt, it has become cheaper to import through Lagos Port.
“The reason why vessels will not come to eastern port is that there is war insurance, the war insurance means if the goods cost 10,000 in Lagos, you will get it 20000 here because there is an extra cost on it.”
“There is insecurity also in Lagos but it is worst here in eastern port. Even as a minister, I can’t enter boat from Warri to Portharcourt, but I can move around Lagos at any time of the day” he said