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Published On: Fri, Nov 8th, 2019

Senate probes alleged N263bn fraud at Lagos Ports

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By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Senate Thursday, set machinery in motion for thorough probe of infractions amongst security outfits at the Lagos Ports from which they illegally made N263billion without due course to the Nigerian established statutes.
Consequently, it mandated its committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance to investigate the activities of Messrs OMSL limited and other security agencies at the Safe Anchorage Area in the Lagos Ports who have made over N263billion illegally.
It also mandated the committees to unravel the lingering infractions amongst the agencies and deeper issues that have not yet been brought to fore.
These were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East).
Sekibo in the motion titled:” Illegal Security Activities by Messrs OMSL Limited at the Safe Anchorage Area of Lagos Ports and the Need to Investigate their Excesses” submitted that a security company registered in the name of OMSL Limited, has since 2014, carried out provision of security of the Lagos Ports Safe Anchorage Area on fees from Vessels without regard to the Nigerian Ports Authority who by the Ports Act of 1954 has the responsibility of the area.
According to him, “OMSL Limited charged every ship that anchored within the Safe Area $2,500 on first day of Anchorage and $1,500 on every subsequent day for the period any ship stayed at the Anchorage Area.
“It takes between 28 to 30 days for ships that anchor at the Safe Anchorage Area to exit, meaning that every ship that anchors at Safe Area, pays as much as $46, 500 for making use of the Anchorage Area within the period”
With estimated number of ships that stayed at the Safe Anchorage Area in a year to be 3, 665, a whooping sum of $733.04m or N263.89billion have been collected by OMSL Limited and its collaborators over the years, he added.
He submitted further that OMSL Limited has openly declared that the Nigerian Navy had a Memorandum of Understanding with it on the Illegal operation.
“OMSL Limited in connivance with other security agencies are collecting a whooping sum of $133.28 million or N47.98billion every year from 2014 , meaning that over $733.04 or N263.89billion have been collected by OMSL Limited and its collaborators “ he alleges.
He explained further that by virtue of the Ports Act (1954) , the Anchorage Area is an integral part of Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA) statutory responsibility while NIMASA, Marine Police and Nigerian Navy have the responsibility of ensuring safe and secured Nigerian territorial waters.
Virtually all the Senators who contributed to debate on the motion like Bassey Akpan, Mathew Urhoghide, Uche Ekwunife etc, supported the motion and the prayers it sought for.
The President of the Senate, Ahnad Lawan, in his remarks after the adoption of the prayers, mandated the committees to be led by the committee on Navy, to carry out thorough investigation on the alleged illegal activities at the Ports and report in four weeks time.

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