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Senate decries navy’s alleged incapacitation as Kaita disowns report

By John Akubo and Adamu Abuh, Abuja
19 December 2019   |   4:18 am
Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday decried the “low level the Nigerian Navy has slid into with only one functional vessel for surveillance on maritime security amid piracy and other challenges.”

(Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

•Confirms Adamu, Nami as AMCON, FIRS chairmen
•Okays N140b as 2020 budget for NCC
•Reps seek inclusion of presiding officers in security council

Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday decried the “low level the Nigerian Navy has slid into with only one functional vessel for surveillance on maritime security amid piracy and other challenges.”

He is disturbed that the force had been “so incapacitated that it now has to rely on the platform provided by a private firm to do its work.”

Lawan was reacting to the report of the Joint Committee on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance that investigated the alleged “illegal security activities by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) at the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) of Lagos ports.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had announced the termination of the controversial security contract which OMSL had with the navy, claiming that it was illegal and done to allegedly extort vessel owners.

But the nation’s number three citizen stated: “This is not the issue for the Senate committee on navy to deal with, it is the issue of the Federal Government because if our navy is this incapacitated, it is a big issue for us and it is unfortunate we are even discussing it in plenary that they have only one functional ship.

“As a giant of Africa, we should be talking of hundreds of ships. This is a challenge for all of us, the National Assembly in particular.”

However, a drama had ensued earlier between Lawan and Senator Ahmad Baba Kaita over his disagreement with the report for which he was a signatory. The latter’s contention was the manner the NPA terminated the maritime security contract.

Chairman of the committee, Senator George Thompson Sekibo, had recalled that the heightening insecurity on Nigerian waters in 2012, particularly at the Lagos ports, led to the establishment of the SAA.

Besides, the Senate has confirmed Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

It also approved other nominees for positions on the board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, including the executive chairman, Muhammad Mamman Nami.

Moreover, the legislative chamber yesterday okayed the sum of N140,383,591,000 for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as its 2020 budget.

The approval was sequel to the consideration of the report of the its Committee on Communications, by led Senator Oluremi Tinubu, during plenary.

However, the House of Representatives has begun consideration of a bill to make presiding officers of the National Assembly members of the National Security Council.

The piece of legislation, which has been referred to the Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase-led Constitution Amendment Committee for legislative scrutiny, aims to alter the nation’s law book to accommodate the Senate president, his deputy as well as the Reps speaker and the deputy as members of the security council.

Also yesterday, the green chamber ordered the immediate probe of the firms behind the abandoned road projects in Delta North.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.