FG Discontinues Payment To Ex-Militant’s Company
By O Ayodele
President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have directed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to stop payments to Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL) for providing security on the nation’s waterways.
Ships and Ports Daily quoted a source at the Federal Ministry of Transport who authoritatively confirmed that the payment to GWVSNL, which is supposedly owned by a former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpomupolo (Tompolo), was stopped in June.
The source also said the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mohammed Bashir, has directed the director general of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, not to make further payments.
Experts and stakeholders in the industry have criticised the concessioning of the nation’s maritime security to a private company linked to a former militant. Rather than leaving the security of the Nigerian waterways at the mercy of a private firm, they feel the task is better handled by the navy and marine police if given the chance and the right support.
Naij.com earlier reported that Buhari is under pressure to cancel Tompolo’s contract.
Tijani Ramalan, board chairman of NIMASA, said Tompolo’s company was paid N1.5billion monthly by NIMASA to execute the contract. He said that cancelling the contract would have positive impact since it has not prevented crude oil theft recorded to be now over 400,000 barrels daily.
“And if Buhari does not do so, we will be the first to start attacking him. There is no basis to give that kind of billion naira job to ex-militants,” he insisted.
The former president Goodluck Jonathan awarded the contract through the regulatory body NIMASA in 2011.
Maritime Security News:
Tompolo’s activities and those of GWVS Ltd. and NIMASA have been discussed here at length and many observers wondered if President Buhari would pull the plug on their deal. It will be very interesting to see what happens next. Certainly, oil theft and piracy remain significant issues in Nigeria, as does the under-reporting of incidents of maritime crime. Will there be a sudden increase in incidents? What’s going to happen to those ships bought from Norway? We will wait and see…