Contrary to general believe that the Global West Vessel Specialists Limited was contracted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to stop oil theft, NIMASA has come out to say that the company’s business was the provision of platforms for the agency’s operations as well as maintaining the platforms.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos recently, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi noted that the essence of the partnership was to enable the agency with the platforms so that it could move from one point to the other.
Akpobolokemi also said that contrary to opinion, the company had nothing to do with bearing arms and ammunitions and chasing criminals adding that the Nigerian Navy, the Air Force and the Police were onboard the platforms provided by the company.
According to him, “Global West contract was not chiefly granted approval by the Federal government to go and stop oil theft. That is also another misinformation that is existing. If you go into NIMASA Act, we have various responsibilities, maritime safety, marine environment management, checking vessels to see whether they complied with our safety regulations and laws etc”.
“The essence of the partnership is to enable us with the platforms so that we can move from point A to point B to point C etc and perform our regulatory functions including cabotage. So, there are so many things we are using the platforms and the structure in performing”.
“I have told you that the company’s business is the provision of platforms and maintaining the platforms. The company has nothing to do with bearing arms and ammunitions and chasing criminals, bandits, pirates or whatever. That is not the job of the company”.
“The platforms are with us, the Navy is onboard the platforms, the Air Force and other security agencies are onboard these platforms and the guns and the weapons belong to the Nigerian Navy and manned by the Nigerian Navy using these platforms. So, when anybody says the security job has been given to somebody, security in the context of what”.
He added that the relationship with the private company had brought about wonderful benefits to NIMASA saying that the agency could reach out to areas in the nation’s waterways to arrest and bring criminals to justice.
“Today, we are happy that the relationship with the private firm has brought wonderful benefits to this agency. We can now reach out to various places in our waterways, we can patrol our waterways, we can b ring criminals, get them arrested and send them to the Police or other government agencies for necessary actions. We can use them to control pollution issues and handle safety issues and so many other things that you can think of using these vessels to do”, he said.
The NIMASA boss however disclosed that the performance of this function had nothing to do with taking the functions of any other government agency including the Nigerian Navy adding that the agency encouraged and supported the Navy in their realization of its constitutional roles.
“Whatever within our resources we want to support the Navy, we will continue to support the Navy. So, it is not for the people and politicians to use our heads against the heads of other government agencies that we are taking their jobs. We don’t take anybody’s job, we collaborate with our people, nobody can do it alone”, Akpobolokemi stated.