Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has assured on the readiness of the present administration to provide adequate security in the nation’s maritime sector, with a possible launch of a new security strategy in June.
Amaechi, who stated this on Monday as a guest of the popular Channels Television breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, lamented the worsening security situation in the nation’s waterways, adding that with the new security strategy, the challenge would be adequately addressed by the Federal Government.
He said: “Between now and June, we should be launching (a new security infrastructure). We have assured Nigerians that we will secure our waterways. Those who make money from the maritime security challenges are already battling us. We are ready for the battle, and the President is behind us.
“There are those who provide security for foreigners to get to the platforms, they will be out of business by the time the water is within the purview of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and they can see from the beginning to the end of our waters. What will be the essence of those contracts when you have the Navy in the water, the Army and the Air Force in the air?”
He blamed the insecurity in the country on the level of unemployment and counselled those he described as “looters” to return what they took from the public purse to enable the government to provide meaningful job opportunities for the vast majority of the jobless, but hardworking Nigerians.
The minister added: “The cure to insecurity is employment and reduction of poverty. The people we deny employment are the ones on the streets. If the government and elites fail to provide legitimate means of livelihood for the poor, the poor will provide for themselves the illegitimate means of livelihood.
“The looters have to return looted funds for jobs to be created, industries to be built and youths to be engaged, and we won’t sleep until we find solutions to the problem.”
He also lauded the federal government’s preventive measures to stem the threat of coronavirus, saying “this government is not irresponsible. With nearly 200 million people, the government has taken various preventive measures.
“Those we are working with didn’t travel, and obviously, there’s no way they could have had contact with those with the virus. Those who travelled are quarantined for 18 to 21 days,” he stated.
The minister said the Lagos-Ibadan railway project has created about 10,000 direct employments and even more indirect employments, stressing that the government has made it clear to the Chinese contractors to source their raw materials from the Nigerian local market.