By Godwin Oritse
LAGOS â€” THE controversial Maritime Security Agency (MSA) Bill has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives, a development that may likely bring about an amendment in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act.
Disclosing this to Vanguard weekend, Chairman, House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Maritime security, Ehigie West Idahosa, said the bill was being given an accelerated legislative process because it was an executive bill.
The committee chairman, however, blamed the management of NIMASA for not being proactive and allowing proponents of the bill to have their way, adding that if the bill was allowed to see the light of the day, it would certainly stripe NIMASA of some of its functions.
Besides, the core functions of about five other agenciesÂ under the Ministry of Transport will also be affected.
Idahosa said the billed had become expedient as the nation had become very porous in the area of security.
Proposed as an inter-agency rapid response paramilitary organisation, the MSA will be allowed by law to carry light arms and also empowered by law to â€œstop, enter, board, inspect, search any ship or craft within the Nigerian maritime zone or territorial waters, demand any license, permit, record, certificate or other documents in relations to matters provided under this Act.