…Petition Dogara over possible National Security Implications
Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have petitioned the speaker of the House of Representatives over alleged $195 million security contract awarded to an Israeli firm to patrol Nigerian waters.
The contract was allegedly awarded by the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Defence.
Rotimi Amaechi is the Minister of Transportation while Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali is the Minister of Defence.
The petition, which was signed by ten CSOs and dated November 14, 2017, was laid before the House on Thursday.
It was entitled, ‘Petition on the Ceding of Nigerian Coastal Waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd: This is an Aberration to our Sovereignty to National Security’.
Among other things, the petitioners stated that, “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.”
They appealed to the speaker to investigate the $195 million contract, particularly the procurement process leading to the selection of the said company.
The petitioners explained further: “We are constrained to bring to the urgent attention of the National Assembly a recent report in the newspapers about the Minister of Transportation contracting the security patrol of Nigerian coastal waterways to an Israeli firm HL SI and Technologies at the cost of $195 million.
“Initially, we thought this was a hoax and invention of the reporters, but considering the wide reportage of this in national dailies, especially as the minister of transportation was quoted to have confirmed this recently at the World Maritime Day.
“The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali Mohammed, in concert with some individuals and foreign firms to throw the Nigerian Navy out of our waterways, has orchestrated a proposal which will be presented to the Federal Executive Council to cede the constitutional powers of the Navy to Shorefac Ltd in exchange of delivery of 100 fast boats to the Nigerian Navy.
It further explained that, “In order to recoup its investment, Shorefac Consortium will be technically dedicated to maintenance of Naval vessels while acting in another capacity as a commercial partner to the Navy.
“Why are they desperate to remove the policing of our waterways from the Navy which is a constitutional provision?”
They also alleged that “the purpose of all this is to steal and divert our crude to global destination and to short-change the nation, not minding who gets hurt in the process.
“The clandestine move contravenes the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“Chapter IV, Part III, Section 217, subsection 1 and 2 states that there shall be armed forces for the federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly.
“The federation shall subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of-(a) defending Nigeria on land, sea or air (c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly and (d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.”
The CSOs that signed the petition include Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, Civil Advocacy Group for Accountability and Probity, Integrity Leaders International Development Initiative, Youth Advocacy for Credible Leadership, Civil Society Group for Good Governance, and Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative.
Others are Royal Empowerment for Development Initiative, Independent Public Service Watch, Guardians of Democracy and Development, and North/South Youth Integrity Forum.