…Says pirates behind rumour
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi has dismissed the alleged purchase of Norwegian Warship by Messrs Global West Vessels Specialist Limited for its use on the Nigerian maritime domain describing it as handiwork of detractors.
Akpobolokemi who stated this while fielding questions from Journalists at a World Press Conference organized by the agency in Lagos on Tuesday maintained that the much talked about warships were the same boats earlier commissioned by the agency and were subsequently fitted with guns by the men of the Nigerian Navy.
He also stated that three of the said warships were commissioned by the President, Goodluck Jonathan during the ground breaking ceremony of the NIMASA ship yard and the Nigerian Maritime University early this year in delta state.
According to him,” people talk about Norwegian Warship, what is warship? How many times have you (Journalists) followed us to those ships that are being talked about? They are the warships, the commissioned boats. No weapon came with those boats, the boats were just bought ordinarily, we bought them and decommissioned. It is the Navy that mounted the guns on those boats, it is the Navy that is in-charge of those boats”.
“What will you ever do in this country that you have your peace? I don’t understand. We took people around everywhere, the Senators, the Ministers, even today, if you want, we can go back there, you will see, infact, at the ground breaking, the President did on behalf of the government and NIMASA and the rest, for the University, three of those boats were also commissioned with the Navy guns mounted on them, with the Navy in charge of those boats”.
While commenting on the ownership of the said company that purchased those boats, Akpobolokemi stated that the Corporate Affairs Commission was there for anyone to write to requesting to be furnished with the ownership of any company.
The NIMASA DG contended that even if the said person was the owner of the company, there was no law in the land that said such a person should not do business with the agency stating that a section in the NIMASA Act empowered it to partner with person or group of persons including corporate organizations in furtherance of its function.
He said,” but in any case, the fact must be stated, there is nowhere in the Nigerian law where it is stated that Mr. A will do job with this company or government and Mr. B will not do job with this company, if there is this law, please I am also learning as I am an academic man who wants to learn”.
First of all, you should go and find out who and who are the owners of this company, then even when you have agreed on who are the owners of this company, people that are being mentioned as the owners of this company, if they are the owners of the company, what offense did they commit going into business venture?”
“Our laws permits that in a section of our Act, that NIMASA in furtherance to its function can partner any person or group of persons or any corporate organization. So, people should not just stay somewhere and say, oh this and that, it is not correct. Rumours must give way for objective facts that are verifiable and should also be bench marked against national laws and national standards and possibly with the international conventions”.
Recall that a Norwegian Newspaper Dagbladet reported that Global West Vessel Specialists Nigeria Limited (GWVSNL), a company belonging to former Niger Delta militant, Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has bought seven decommissioned Norwegian battleships.
The report said that the fast-speed Hauk-class guided missile boats had been re-armed with new weaponry adding GWVSNL’s most recent purchase was a KNM Horten, a fast-attack craft now used in fighting piracy on Nigeria’s waterways.
Buying arms from Norway requires an export license from Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ships were reportedly sold first to CAS Global, a British security company that has such a license, after which GWVSNL reportedly bought the ships from the British company.
Dagbladet reported that the seven Norwegian ships were now part of the company’s maritime fleet patrolling under a contract for the Federal Government.