By Joshua Williams
The Federal Government has cancelled the maritime security contract handled by Capt. Hosa Okunbo’s Ocean Marine Solutions Ltd (OMSL), alleging that the deal was laced in fraud.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this during an interview on African Independent Television (AIT).
The Minister also accused the company of incompetence.
According to Amaechi, his ministry cancelled the maritime security contract, which Captain Hosa Okunbo’s Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) was undertaking, because the deal was laced with fraud, adding that OMSL was grossly inefficient, didn’t have the federal government’s approval to execute the contract and was charging very high rates.
Amaechi challenged Okunbo to come forward with the approval letter he got from the federal government to provide maritime security on the nation’s waterways.
Asked by the programme presenter, Ijeoma Osamor, to comment on the battle between the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and Hosa Okunbo’s Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, Amaechi retorted, “What security was he (Hosa Okunbo) providing?”
The transport minister said: “He charges each vessel on the waters $2,500, then after that $1,500 every day, he doesn’t pay back that money to the federal government. He makes $17 million from that activity, who approved it, nobody!
“So as minister for transport, I said no, we can provide that security, 195 million dollars was approved by the federal government to a company that is training Nigerians that will take over the waterways, and take care of the security, then Okunbo is now saying no no, I must do it, he can’t! I wonder why our personal interest will override national interest. I wonder what kind of country we belong to.”
He emphasized: “The federal government has awarded a contract of 195 million dollars to a company to take care of the security of the waterways and now Captain Hosa is saying he must be the one to do it.”
The transport minister explained: “If you said Captain Hosa was doing it, how come we are currently ranked number one in the world in terms of insecurity in the maritime sector. When we came, we were number three, but now we are number one in the world.
“Now the second aspect beyond ranking number one in the world in insecurity is the fact that we are notorious as a country in the whole of Gulf of Guinea; 80 per cent of the crimes in the Gulf of Guinea is committed in Nigerian waters.”
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, has said that the recent television interview granted the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, in which he took responsibility for the cancellation of Captain Hosa Okunbo’s maritime security contract, validates Governor Godwin Obaseki’s letter that he had no hand in Okunbo’s misfortunes.
Osagie said: “We are glad that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, came on air to lay this issue to rest in the minds of some Nigerians.
“For us, Amaechi’s clarification reinforces what we have always believed. Of course, we know the governor was right when he said that he had no hand in the cancellation of Okunbo’s maritime security contract, even though Captain Hosa would have people believe otherwise. Amaechi’s claim brings to rest, the argument over who was responsible for the cancellation of Okunbo’s contract.”