Disturbed by the security threat of the new move by the management of Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, to stop Ocean Marine Security Limited, OMSL, from operating in the Secure Anchorage Area, SAA, of the Lagos waterway, a non-profit organisation, the New Nigeria Collective NNC, yesterday called on the Federal Government to intervene to resolve the looming crisis.
The group, in a statement by its National Chairman, Mr. Adeola Adewunmi, was reacting to a statement recently credited to the NPA leadership and published in a national daily, where it threatened the arrest of any vessel at the SAA, adding that any ship found there would be sanctioned also.
NNC observed that the inexplicable rivalry orchestrated by the NPA was gradually becoming a threat to national security, given the sensitivity of the assignment that the OMSL is handling for the country, in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy at SAA.
According to the group, the fact that OMSL has no business with the NPA in the matter presupposes that the government agency has been overreaching itself over time even after the Nigerian Senate intervened and asked the NPA to steer clear of the SAA because the contract is between OMSL and the Navy and not directly with the NPA.
It is even the more disturbing that after Senate’s recommendation, which gave OMSL a clean bill and urged it to continue with its otherwise patriotic assignment, the NPA leadership was still headstrong and went ahead to disrespect the Nigerian senate – an institution of note. Isn’t it also ridiculous that the NPA is now asking the Navy to arrest the vessels they are protecting or do we call this a clear case of incompetence on the part of the NPA leadership?
“Unfortunately, as it stands today, the NPA doesn’t have a security Architecture in place in the Lagos area, not to mention the Port Harcourt area, where pirates’ attacks are uncontrollable and cost of shipping to Port Harcourt has become astronomical, because ships refuse to go there. But the Lagos that seems to be working, because of SAA is about to be destroyed out of sheer vendetta and lack of patriotism
“Instead of encouraging the security solutions that have brought sanity to the Lagos area, all the efforts of the NPA leadership have been to destroy it and bring the Lagos area to the days that ships had to go to neighbouring countries to berth and the country lost a lot of revenue and what is even more worrisome is that this service is at no cost to the federal government, so, what is NPA’s problem?” the group asked.
The NNC said it was embarrassed to learn that despite all the interventions that legitimately stifled the NPA from harassing the OMSL, it has continued to act as though it was not answerable to anyone, adding that the silent treatment being meted out to it by the OMSL can only explain why the matter has not needlessly escalated.
“The truth of the matter is that the NPA does not even have the power to arrest or announce the arrest of anyone. In the very worst-case scenario, if there are infractions at SAA, all that the NPA needs to do is report such to the Navy, which will in turn address the matter.
“But, having followed closely the operations of the OMSL at the SAA, it does not take much to see how the company has been providing the much-needed logistics for the navy to function and be on top of their assignment. But this is the kind of support that the NPA has refused to give, even when it was approached.
“We are inclined to believe, therefore, that there are some persons within the NPA, who for reasons best known to them alone, want the OMSL messed up and as a result, been concocting all sorts of lies and manipulation to justify their premeditated plans,” he said.
The group maintained that the NPA must be immediately called to order to stop distracting the OMSL from doing the job, for which it has been globally acknowledged as outstanding in securing the nation’s waterways and instead, partner them for productive collaboration in the larger interest.