By Musa Adamu
The Senate on Thursday resolved to send a delegation to commiserate with the victims and people of Anambra State over the recent tanker fire incident which claimed scores of lives.
The upper chamber while reacting to the incident through a motion considered on the floor, urged the Federal Government through the Nigeria Fire Service to provide firefighting equipment in all major markets across the country.
One of the sponsors of the motion, Senator Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North) lamented the incident which claimed many lives, especially that of a woman and her child after 16 years of childlessness.
The lawmaker noted that between 2015 and 2018, fuel tanker infernos and accidents caused by vehicles have led to many deaths on Nigeria’s highway.
Oduah recalled that in July this year, a motion on similar incident sponsored by Senator Orker-Jev Emmanuel Yisa (PDP, Benue North West) claimed many lives and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
She called for strict enforcement of traffic safety rules by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and all relevant security agencies in order to ensure safer roads across the country.
Accordingly, the Senate urged the NPF to work in conjunction with the FRSC to carry out a thorough investigation of the circumstances leading to the fuel tanker fire, with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable.
Meanwhile, the upper chamber on Thursday directed 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 to determine the legality of their operations and revenue implications.
The resolution was reached sequel to the consideration of a motion titled: “Illegal security activity by Messrs OMSL Limited at the Safe Anchorage Area of Lagos Ports and the need to investigate their excesses”.
Sponsor of the motion, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East), said 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.
The lawmaker disclosed that “OMSL Limited charged every ship that anchored within the Safe Area $2,500 on the first day of anchorage and $1,500 on every subsequent day for the period any ship stayed at the anchorage area.”
According to Sekibo, “it takes between 28 to 30 days for ships that anchor at the Safe Anchorage Area to exit, meaning that every ship pays as much as $46,500 for making use of the Anchorage Area within that period.”
He added that, “OMSL in connivance with other security agencies are collecting a whooping sum of $133.28 million or N47.98 billion every year from 2014, meaning that over $733.04 or N263.89 billion have been collected by OMSL and its collaborators.”
The lawmaker noted that by virtue of the Ports Act (1954), the Anchorage Area is an integral part of NPA statutory responsibility while NIMASA, Marine Police and Nigerian Navy have the sole responsibility to ensure safe and secure Nigeria territorial waters.