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ACN Kicks, As Tompolo Prepares To Take Over Maritime Security – Leadership Newspapers

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has raised the alarm over an alleged plan by the federal government to hand over the nation’s maritime security to a private firm.

The said firm, Global West Vessel Specialist Agency (GWVSL), is allegedly owned by an ex-warlord Chief Government Ekpemukpolo aka Tompolo.

It is reported that the federal government has concluded plans to concession the security of the country’s maritime sector to the former warlord.

In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, and made available to LEADERSHIP, the ACN wondered if the alleged move by the federal government was part of the agenda being pursued in recent times by a group that has been championing parochial nationalism in the wake of the fuel subsidy debate.

The party queried the rationale behind the memo that was presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) this month seeking the council’s approval for a “so-called strategic concession partnership between NIMASA and Global West Vessel Specialist Agency (GWVSL) to enforce regulatory compliance and surveillance of the entire Nigerian Maritime Domain”.

The statement observed that the action raised more serious concern when viewed against the backdrop of government’s decision to withdraw a bill before the National Assembly that would have created a Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) to carry out the same functions now being outsourced to a private firm under a suspicious concession plan.

The statement reads in part: “Let us say here that while there is nothing wrong in the use of concessions to provide and maintain infrastructure, it is totally unacceptable – even unprecedented especially in a fragile federation as ours – for any government to hand over the security of its entire maritime domain to a private firm. It is unconscionable that a decision that will have far-reaching implications for trade, security, ports and shipping will be taken so lightly, without a rigorous national debate.

“It is particularly dangerous for a country like Nigeria, where 70 per cent of all her resources – including oil – are on water. The security implications are so grave that no nation seeking to remain one, indivisible entity will try it. It takes the provision of maritime security out of government’s direct control, and encroaches on the role of the military (the Navy in this case) to protect the territorial integrity of the nation.”

The ACN further said it was particularly worried about the web of intrigue involved, and would like to know: “What informed the withdrawal of the bill to create MASECA as a government agency that would have handled maritime security? Is it by coincidence that the memo on this ‘strategic partnership’ was pre-approved by the president? Why would a government so willingly abdicate its responsibility of ensuring the security of its maritime domain? What were the ministers thinking when they approved this dangerous memo? What is the agenda of the president in allowing this to happen?”

The party further said that several recent developments had made it more urgent to call the partnership between NIMASA and Global West to question.

“In the wake of the fuel subsidy debate, parochial nationalist groups from a certain part of the country have threatened everything from taking full control of their resources to secession. They have even warned that President Goodluck Jonathan could be the last president of a united Nigeria. Against this background, it should jolt all right-thinking people that the nation’s maritime security is being taken over by a private entity. It does not help matters that that entity belongs to someone who has openly aligned with one of these parochial groups. That is why we ask what the president’s agenda is concerning this ‘partnership’,” the statement added.

ACN further dismissed as self-serving the argument proffered for going into the partnership, including that the government is unable to raise the $103 million needed to be invested over a 10-year period for the provision of the requisite operational platforms; that the concession would create 1,375 direct job opportunities and 1,620 indirect jobs, and that the amount accruable to the government over the concession period will be around N124 billion.

More worrisome, the party said, is the fact that the concession will last for an initial period of 10 years, renewable for two terms of five years each (which is another 10 years).

“We are compelled to ask: If an investment of $103 million will fetch the government N124 billion and create so many jobs, why can’t the government raise – or even borrow if necessary – the amount to invest? Is anyone really convinced that this federal government that is awash in cash – going by the profligate 2012 budget – cannot raise $103 million for a project that borders on national security?

“While seeking answers to these and other questions, we call on the National Assembly to immediately step into the matter, in view of its national security implication. We also call on all Nigerians to show interest in this issue, which has far-reaching implications for the country’s continued existence as one entity. We note that it is in consideration of the national security implication of maritime security that made the drafters of the MASECA bill to put the agency directly under the presidency,” ACN further stated.

3 Responses to “ACN Kicks, As Tompolo Prepares To Take Over Maritime Security – Leadership Newspapers”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Any amn who talks about civil war should stand to fight it till the end and not run away .. the mouth that’s says I am big should have what it takes to prove it… if there is no oil in Nigeria I wonder if the so called aboki will attend a school… lets us see how things go if during the first civil war the south south was foolish, may be this time there may be tactics for defence.

  2. Anonymous says:

    May god save us from the hands of pdp and gudluck jonathan. How can the president of a country be thinking that privatising the entire maritime security, but i’m sure member’s of the national assenbly wil not fold their arms and watch this happen b’cos if it happen we are moving towards another CIVIL WAR in nigeria

  3. Abdulsalam says:

    I am not suprise, some thinkers already alluded to this fact when GEJ was completing Late Yardua’s term, that he plans to hand the maritme security to the militants. With all the insurgences going on especially in the north, we will soon see more revealations. Thanks to ACN for their vigilance, I hope OBJ, IBB, Gusau, TY Danjuma & Gowon are listening, you people are wiser. God bless the good people of Nigeria.


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