Senate okays, commends OMSL operation amidst lone-senator’s protest
The Senate has endorsed the services of Ocean Marine Solutions limited (OMSL) as a genuine and reliable private maritime logistics support companies on the nation’s port securing the safety of ships waiting to berth at the ports.
Senate endorsement of OSML operation followed the adoption of all four recommendations by the joint Adhoc Senate committees on Marine Transport and Finance to investigate alleged fraud in the operation of OMSL on the nation waterways.
The committee recommended among others: “That Ocean Marine solutions limited OMSL should be commended for his genuine national interest for investing over $400m into the security and secured Anchorage Area in particular, that the Nigerian waterways in general by providing the needed platforms and logistics for the Nigerian Navy to effectively perform 2/47/365 patrol operations as well as to provide the required protection for vessels waiting to berth at the Nation’s Port.
“That since no fraud is found in the operations of the OMSL and it’s operating at no cost to the government OMSL should be allowed to continue its operations at the Safe Anchorage until such a time when a better and more cost-effective system no is put in place by the government.
“That the Nigerian Navy should be properly funded to enable it to provide needed vessels to enable it 150 vessels-deficit to enable them to carry out their constitutional responsibilities without over depending on private maritime logistics support companies (PMSC)
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said Nigeria has no option but to stick to the deal that would continue to provide safety for ships berthing on Nigerians shores thereby guaranteeing the nation’s aspiration to sustained increased revenue.
According to Lawan: “I think we have a challenge here, which is, that, if we do not like what this company is doing we should bring our own. Until we are able to do that, I think we have to continue with the present arrangement.
The president of the Senate expressed disappointment that such grim reality exists in the Navy and it was being discussed at plenary.
The President of the Senate then charged the committee on Navy to look into the matter and evolve measures to improve their capacity to man the nation waterways.
The endorsement of the Senate was not without a bit of drama put up by the Senator representing Katsina North and a member of the committee denied being in the know of the committee report.
He submitted that while he was not against the work of the committee, he is worried that the nation would hand over it’s Marine security to the private entity while the nation has a Navy.
His words: “Why it was wrong to terminate we invited heads of the parastatals and they justified it based on security. We can’t mortgage our security based on Adhoc arrangement.
“We shouldn’t take the interest of anybody against the interest of Nigeria. This report is lopsided and it won’t help the security of this country.”
Gombe state Senator representing Gombe Central, Danjuma Goje, in his reaction to the position of Kariya, said the Recommendation wants the OMSL to be in operations until the nation was able to measure up and close the gap off of its platforms (150 ships) to man the nation’s Marine asset to contain pirate attack as against letting it open through termination of the services of Ocean Marine solutions limited whose service helps to shore up revenue for the federal government.
“What we are saying is that this company should be allowed to operate until we have another alternative. We aren’t saying the company should be there permanently, but we shouldn’t open our waterways to pirates.
”There is nothing illegal in OMSL operation, for now, we can’t chase them away.”
Lending his voice to the issue to offer more clarity on the matter, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, another member of the committee pointed out that: “All agents were invited and they gave testimony, the NPA came out sincerely that they don’t have the capacity to secure the waterways.
According to him, the Navy said there is no alternative to the security of the anchorage at the moment, therefore, if OMSL was allowed to leave the Secured Anchorage Area it would expose the nation’s waterways to pirate attacks.
In his submission, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe said the protection of the waterways must take precedence, mover any other considerations and faulted NIMASA and NPA when there was no alternative to the services of OMSL.
He, however, sought support for the Navy to have the platforms to secure the waterways