The House of Representatives on Wednesday tasked Federal Government to as a matter of utmost urgency direct the installation of the floating dock at Okerenkoko, Delta State with the view to save the country over $100 million being spent on outsourcing of floating dock on yearly basis.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion titled: “Threat to Relocate the Floating Dock Earmarked for Okerenkoko, Delta State,” sponsored by Hon. Julius Pondi.
According to the sponsor of the motion, the N50 billion floating dock acquired since 2011 has so far not been installed due to bizarre bureaucratic wrangling on the localisation of the facility.
In his lead debate, Hon. Pondi who solicited for the House intervention explained that: “There is a floating dock acquired at a cost of over N50 billion which was earmarked to be located in Okerenkoko, Delta State but since its arrival in the country on 11 June, 2018, the floating dock has become embroiled in a bizarre bureaucratic wrangling over where it would be located as its operational base.
“The House also notes that the turn of events surrounding the location of the floating dock arose from high-level manipulations designed to remove it from where it was originally intended to be located before it was purchased by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“The House recalls that the Okerenkoko floating dock project was duly considered and approved by the Federal Executive Council at its 37th meeting on 23 October, 2013, and the approval was conveyed to the Federal Ministry of Transport on 29 October 2013.
“The House also recalls that the entire project was in two phases involving the construction of shipbuilding facility and dockyard at Okerenkoko Delta State, maritime equipment and structures, ancillary buildings and electro-mechanical works and facilities, as well as civil and infrastructural works.
“The House further notes that since its arrival in Nigeria about two years ago, the dock has remained in a storage berthing space which according to NIMASA, is currently gulping $30,000 per day which translates to $10.440 million per year, which stands at approximately N4 billion per year in demurrage charges.
“The House is worried that the modular floating dock when operational, is expected to save the Federal Government $100 million annually, and $1 billion in 10 years through direct savings from the dry-docking of vessels operating in Nigeria which is mostly done outside the country at the moment.
“The House is also worried that the floating dockyard which was designed by its manufacturers based on agreed specifications and with Okerenkoko as its agreed permanent operational site, has now been lying idle at the Naval dockyard in Lagos for no plausible justification other than desperate attempts to deprive away Delta State from hosting the facility at Okerenkoko.
“The House is concerned about attempts to review a decision that had been made on the location of the floating dock through desperate claims and counter-claims of the existence of fresh surveys, and the claims being made by NIMASA about security concerns in the Niger Delta as the reason to move the floating dock away from Delta State when other regions of the country are also being tormented by even more scary insecurity.
“The House is further convinced that the so-called new surveys and fresh expert advice are devices programmed to achieve a pre-determined goal of taking away the floating dock to Rivers State where both the Minister of Transportation and the Director-General of NIMASA hail from and Parliament should not be privy to such subtle manipulations in the execution of public policies that had been settled long before the tenure of the officials began,” he noted.
To this end, the House urged NIMASA management to abide by all the terms and conditions precedent to the acquisition of the floating dock with a view to ensuring that the dock is put into operation forthwith with Okerenkoko, Delta State as its base.
The House also urged the authorities of Nigerian Navy to provide all necessary assistance, including dredging in Delta State, to enable NIMASA put the dock into use.
While ruling, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris, who presided over the plenary mandated the Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration to ensure implementation.