The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, in a keynote address at the 2017 World Maritime Day in Lagos disclosed that Federal Government had contracted the security of the nation’s waterways to an Isreali security firm.
The minister said the government had engaged the firm for three years to adequately train Nigerian personnel on the security of the sector, after which it would hand over the operation to Nigerians.
He stated that Nigeria would spend $195m on the exercise, expected to commence in December.
Amaechi stressed the importance of security in the nation’s maritime sector against the backdrop of the activities of pirates and the huge amount of money firms operating in the shipping sector were currently spending on escort services.
He said, “We have mandated a consulting firm to do a study of the maritime sector and they will round off in nine months. They have already done between three and four months, and we are expecting them to submit an interim report on their findings”.
The minister noted that the shipping firms were paying as much as $18m annually to those escorting their vessels from one point to another on Nigeria’s waterways, adding that from the middle of next year, such escort services would cease as the Israelis had promised that there would be no more harassment of firms on the nation’s waterways.
The minister added that the government was reviewing its concession agreement with private investors.
He further stated that the time being wasted for cargoes to exit the ports would be reduced by December when the narrow gauge rail line would begin to work.