The Federal Government has threatened to scrapped the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) if it continued with the massive fraud in the system.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi told the committee that as a result of massive fraud, NIMASA may be scrapped.
The minister further told the committee that the Federal Government might be forced to approach the National Assembly to repeal the Act establishing NIMASA, if its management fails to justify the utilisation of the huge resources at its disposal.
Amaechi lamented that NIMASA had nothing to show for the N63billion revenue it generated in 2015.
He cited the instance of lack of equipment at the agency’s search and rescue unit meant to monitor movement of vessels and provide treatment for injured personnel.
He said: “Currently, the way NIMASA is, if you look at it very well, it was worse in the last administration. It was as if it was established just for the purpose of collecting money and nothing more. What we need to do is to ensure that NIMASA discharges its core responsibilities.
“If NIMASA outsources its core responsibility, then it has no business existing. If it is just to collect money from individuals, anybody can do that. We can hire a tax collector to collect money from maritime operators on behalf of Federal Ministry of transport.
“So, it is either NIMASA sits up and carries out its own responsibility or we come to the National Assembly to repeal the Act setting it up and allow the department of marine security in the ministry of transportation to discharge the responsibility currently being discharged by NIMASA.
He also disclosed that the ministry would not continue with the Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko saying there was no need for the University.
“We are not going ahead with the university project proposed by NIMASA because we have an institution in Oron, we have Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria, and we have the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria which we could upgrade to a University status and NIMASA is proposing to build a new one.
“Who will attend the University? How many parents will allow their children to go to such place where it proposes to site the University? What is the aim of the University that we cannot achieve in Oron where they have all the necessary infrastructure.
“I don’t think we are proceeding with the university being proposed by NIMASA because it is a waste of resources, and unfortunately a lot of money had already been released for the University project hence there is no structure on ground but just the feasibility study.
“Whoever that is holding on to the money should better return it. The Chinese company contracted confirmed that only the feasibility study was in place.”
Former President Goodluck Jonathan approved that the NIMASA University should be located at Okerenkoko, Warri South West Local Government.
Amaechi also explained that an arrangement had been put in place to ensure that the dollar revenue accruable to NIMASA was paid directly to the Federation Account to boost foreign exchange for the country.