The Senate Committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance Tuesday, frowned at direct involvement of an Israeli firm Systems and Technology Limited (HLSI), in securing the Nigerian water ways based on the $195.3million Deep Blue Sea Contract it secured from Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency ( NIMASA) in 2017.
This is as the Nigerian Navy admitted the involvement of the Israeli firm on water ways security in the country but clarified that the foreign firm was only contracted to offer it required platforms in terms of vessels for effective policing of the Anchorage Area.
Alleged involvement of the Israeli firm in securing the Anchorage Area of the Nigerian Ports in Lagos came to the fore during investigative hearing of the joint committees on alleged Illegal security activities of Messrs Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) at the ports.
Specifically, at the investigative hearing, the representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Tarioworio Dick who is the Chief of Naval Operations, in his submissions, said the Navy was expecting a vessel from an Israeli firm to boost its security operations in the water ways.
Sensing security implication of Dick’s submission, the Chairman of the joint committee, Senator George Sekibo ( PDP Rivers East ) said, “Are you aware that NIMASA has given a contract called Deep Blue Sea to an Israeli company, HLSI, to the tune of $195.3million for promoting security of the riverine area? I have the contract number here. Are you aware?
The Chief of Naval Operations in his response answered in the affirmative by saying “I’m aware that there is a contract like that for provision of required facilities.”
But Sekibo fired back by asking ” What is their role . Are they to secure our waters or to provide you with platforms?
The Naval man in his response insisted that the involvement of the Israeli firm was for platform provision and not direct security operations on Nigerian water ways .
He said, ” For me, the aspect I have seen is that they are providing some platforms for the Nigerian Navy which we are going to use. The vessels they are providing for us have not arrived Nigeria, but there will be weapons on these vessels.”
Not satisfied with response of the Chief of Naval Staff’s Representative, a member of the Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), asked him to explain to the committee who will be in charge of the ammunition on the vessels and the security implications involved.
But Rear Admiral Dick in his response said the vessels will be manned by Nigerian Navy personnel.
“As I speak, one of the vessels is on the way. We have nine of our personnel on board that vessel. I’m aware that the vessel is on the way. I am aware that the vessel will be armed but I can’t tell you more than this.”
Virtually all the members of the committee like Senators Betty Apiafi, Francis Alimikhena etc, frowned at the contractual arrangement based on alleged security implications .No tags for this post.