The Chairman, House Committee on Local Content, Legor Idagbo, on Tuesday slammed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and its Director-General, Dakuku Peterside, saying, “you people should be ashamed of yourselves”.
Idagbo’s umbrage followed Dakuku’s failure to honour the invitation of a National Assembly joint committee investigating the activities of foreign vessel owners in the country on Tuesday.
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Local Content, Petroleum Downstream, and Legislative Compliance is currently investigating the alleged breach of Nigerian laws by foreign vessel owners in the coastal region of the country.
Rather than show up, Peterside had sent a team of NIMASA Directors to represent him. But the panel would have none of that as it walked out the representatives from its Tuesday public hearing.
Peterside has been at loggerheads with both the upper and lower legislative chambers of the National Assembly for repeatedly shunning their invitations.
Recently, members of the House of Representatives threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against the embattled NIMASA Director-General. The National Assembly Joint Committee also threatened to sanction Peterside if he fails to honour the rescheduled meeting by appearing in person.
Idagbo, along with his counterpart in the Senate, Teslim Folarin, lamented the decision of Peterside to shun the invitation despite several reminders.
The duo wondered why Peterside, who picked Tuesday as the most convenient day to honour the lawmakers’ invitation, having failed to honour previous appointments, decided to send representatives to the public hearing.
The leader of the NIMASA team was not allowed to introduce himself before he was asked to leave the hearing room.
“I think we should be ashamed of ourselves as Nigerians. A situation where invitations are sent out and all we get are excuses. I’m aware that Senator Folarin had a conversation with the DG of NIMASA and he picked this date.
“The DG went through his calendar and picked this date only for him to send representatives to us today. This committee’s invitation got first before that of the House but he chose to ignore us.
“What the DG of NIMASA should have done is to explain to the House Committee that he already had an invitation to an investigative hearing from this joint committee. He could even honour our invitation and still meet up with his appointment with the House committee.
“We cannot continue like this as a country. We sit down at the comfort of our offices and live large. We copy what happens in other countries yet we fail to do what they do there. We fail to respect constituted authority.
“You people (NIMASA) should be ashamed of yourselves. How do we move forward as a country if we continue like this? What engagement is more important than this type of investigative hearing? This type of attitude is unacceptable,” Idagbo said.
Folarin, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Content, said, “It is very unfortunate that men in the position of authority would flagrantly shun the invitation of the Senate. I spoke with Peterside about this event. He was supposed to come three weeks ago but he didn’t come.
“We rescheduled this event because of him. I called him and asked him to pick a date and he picked today, only for him to write the Clerk three days ago that the Senate Committee was coming to see him.
“This is an investigative hearing which supersedes any other engagement. We won’t sit here and be wasting our time. We will give him one more chance, just one chance. If he failed to honour the next invitation, we know what to do.”