Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has refuted media reports that the agency and Federal Ministry of Transportation were involved in a bribery scandal involving a sum of $429 million maritime security contract with an Israeli firm.
In a statement, Head, Corporate Communications, Isichei Osamgbi, said there is no truth in the publication. He expressed surprise that the story came when NIMASA, under the Federal Ministry of Transportation, is working hard to improve security in the Nigerian territorial waters.
“Having read through the content of the publication, it is sad to note that some people will derive joy in playing politics with the issue of security in the Nigerian maritime domain at a time NIMASA, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, is working closely with security agencies in Nigeria to improve security in the Nigerian territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
Osamgbi, however, acknowledged that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved the acquisition of some maritime security assets on contractor-financed basis in favour of an Isreali firm but noted that the content of the write-up was laced with falsehood. “We view this as being merely a cheap attempt to tarnish the image of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, and the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside,” he said.
According to him, while the report claimed bogus figures such as $429 million and $615 million as value of the contract for vessel purchase, nothing in that nature related to a contract in the approval granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the acquisition of maritime security infrastructure.
“The report said the investigation relates to the acquisition of three number Shaldag fast patrol boats by the Nigerian Navy between 2010 and 2013. The said report claimed three Israeli Shipyard officials were being questioned over the 2010-2013 transactions. Even when it is clear that neither the Minister, Amaechi, nor Dr. Peterside were occupying their present office in the years mentioned in the report, the authors still chose to be mischievous.
“The recently approved maritime security assets acquisition relates to special mission aircraft, special mission helicopters and 12 fast intervention vessels to be acquired for enhanced coastal and aerial surveillance and patrol of the Nigerian maritime domain. They will be manned by the Nigerian Navy and other Nigerian military officials.
“The terms of the contract also include human capacity development that will see the firm train NIMASA and retrain Nigerian security personnel with specification to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standard, specially on fighting crimes in the maritime domain of which we have peculiar challenges in the creeks and our larger coastal region. The value of this contract is known and it is $195 million.”