By Michael Eboh
THE Maritime Security Agency, MASECA, has called on the Federal Government to authorize it to partner with other security agencies to beef up security around the country’s waterways in order to tackle vandalism of petroleum assets, militancy and other crimes.
The bill for the establishment of the Maritime Security Agency is currently before the National Assembly, awaiting passage into law.
Consequently, Acting Director General of the agency, Mr. Jacob Ovweghre, has called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Bill so that it could commence operations and contribute in ending the rising spate of violence in the Niger Delta and some other regions of the country.
He said, “We, the officers, men and stakeholders of the Maritime Security Agency hereby call on Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo, to give us an executive order or letter of authorization to enable us assist the Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, the Marine Police and other security agencies, to beef up security as the first step to curbing militancy, terrorism and kidnapping using the waterways.
“With collective responsibility, if we join forces with security operatives, we can effectively secure our neighborhood and communities. This will boost concern for our safety, security and national security apparatus to curb the sinister bombing activities of the terrorist, kidnappers and other nefarious groups especially those using our territorial sea, coastland, inland waterways and creeks.”
He argued that the passage of the Bill would create direct employment to 55,000 people and create indirect employment to three million persons at no cost to the government.
According to him, the Agency would generate over N3.1 trillion annually for Nigeria without creating discomfort for any agency or business activities in Nigeria.
Ovweghre also called on everybody, especially seafarers, to support the Maritime Security Agency and partake in securing the country for the benefit of children and other persons.
Also speaking, Baru explained that transparency and accountability had become a way of life for management and staff of the Corporation, noting that the era of unpublished or accumulated NNPC audit accounts had been confined to the history book.
He disclosed that NNPC planned to conclude the audit of its 2015 accounts latest by the end of August 2017, while preparation of the 2016 audited account which began about a month ago would be concluded by the end of 2017.
He said, “This explains why we publish our operations and financial reports every month so that not only your office but the general public could follow the trail. I don’t think there is any government institution that has demonstrated this level of transparency.”
He added that as an entity, the NNPC had a mandate to ensure that Nigeria reaped bountifully from the proceeds of its vast hydrocarbon resources and the NNPC management was also willing at all times to adopt measures that would propel the realization of this noble objective.