By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—CRITICAL stakeholders in the maritime sector, yesterday kicked against the Bill seeking the establishment of a Maritime Security Agency, insisting that it is a duplication of security outfits in the sector.
Speaking at a one-day public hearing by the Mohammad Bago led Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration on a ‘Bill to Establish Maritime Security Agency, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said: “It should be emphasised that where there are observable lapses in the operation and the administration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Act, rather than create a parallel agency with identical functions, the Act should be strengthened by way of amendment. This is particularly so as government is adversed to the proliferation of institutions with overlapping functions.
The Minister who was represented by Mallam Shehu Aliyu said” since this will look like duplication, we suggest the Bill should be stepped down.”
Similarly, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ete-Ibas, represented by Rear Admiral Ibe-Enwo said “the creation of a security agency in the maritime sector while NIMASA and other agencies including the navy are already performing that role will amount to duplication. It has a lot of security implications that could affect Nigeria adversely and what is appropriate is to further empower the agencies securing our waterways for now.
“There was no collusion on our part whatsoever with NIMASA on this issue as we analysed the situation properly before this presentation. Concluding, we strongly believe that bringing another security agency now is not going to be in our interest at all.
The representative of the Shippers Council, also advocated for further powers for the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA rather than duplicating services.
In his presentation, convener of Maritime Security Agency, Goodluck Akpore pleaded that the essence of the security agency was not to undermine other established agencies but to compliment their roles.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Umar Bago, said “ the bill is for an Act to establish the maritime security agency to promote Maritime Security and to promote among others for the maritime security agency charged with the responsibility of providing security and safety information and communication facilities for all categories of users of Nigerian Maritime industry related matters.”