Reps accuse Navy of collecting $50,000 to escort ships



The House of Representatives on Tuesday accused the Navy of collecting $50,000 from ship owners before escorting vessels to their destination.

The House frowned at the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for failing to secure the waterways despite collecting huge sums of money from ship owners for that purpose.

The allegations are contained in the report of an ad hoc committee set up by the House to investigate why the Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha ports are not being put to maximum use.

The House mandated its Committee on Finance to investigate the utilisation of the three percent freight charges collected by NIMASA in the last ten years having failed to ensure the safety of the waterways.

Adopting the committee’s report at Tuesday’s plenary, the House asked the Federal Government to direct the Navy to safe guard the waterways and partner with other countries in the Gulf of Guinea Commission as well as relevant security agencies to check criminal activities on the waters.

The lawmakers also want the government to fully implement the suppression of piracy and other maritime offences act, which provides for a legal framework to fight piracy and create a more conducive maritime environment.

The House also agreed to ask the federal and state governments as well as communities to collaborate in handling issues of piracy, kidnapping and armed robbery with the responsibility of discouraging Nigerian youths from getting involved in the vices.

The House is also asking the Nigerian Ports Authority to review its lease fees and charges for the operators and consider deliberate implementation of a regime to reduce port charges in other ports other than Lagos port in other to attract ships.

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