Lawmakers knock NIMASA DG over controversial $195m deep blue project

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The House of Representatives Committee on Navy investigating the controversial $195 million deep blue project has queried the Nigerian Maritime Administration Agency (NIMASA) over the purchase of arms.

The deep blue project is a three-year maritime security contract awarded by the federal government to a foreign private company named HLS International Limited.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi, while reacting to the submission made by the Director-General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, questioned the procurement of military equipment by the agency.

“We don’t have coast guard, why are you procuring military equipment and keeping them in your custody preempting that you would have coast guard to hand over to them?

“Do you think it is safe for this country to keep military equipment in your custody with the sole aim of establishing an agency, predetermining that Mr President would approve the establishment of the coast guard? What would be consequent effects of keeping the equipment in your custody?” Gagdi asked Jamoh.

In his presentation, Jamoh, said that the contract attracted a management fee of 10 per cent placed at $19.5 million. He claimed that the total sum of $195 million as approved by the federal government fell short of logistical expenditure.

“Let me start by addressing the cost of the contract. The cost of the contract was $195 million and 10 per cent management fee of about $19.5million. I want to make it categorically clear; the amount represents the cost of these platforms.

“There are other things or related costs that may not be included here from the time we collected the assets to date. You need to manage the assets; you need to buy bunkers. You need to do other things including those who are managing the platforms,” he said.

Jamoh said the entire contract agreement was conceived and processed by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, while NIMASA was mandated to pay for it.

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