By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate joint Committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance, has threatened to issue warrant of arrest on the Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside for failing to appear before it.
The Committee investigating the N263.89billion illegal security services carried out by the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMLS) at the Safe Anchorage Area in Lagos Ports, issued the threat Wednesday when the NIMASA DG failed to appear before it.
Though the NIMASA DG was represented at the investigative hearing by the Principal Legal Officer of the Agency, Barrister Haruna Argungu but the committee refused to honour him in that capacity by walking him out of the session in the presence of the Minister of State, Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.
Trouble for the NIMASA DG started when the committee Chairman, Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), read out list of heads of Marine Transport agencies invited for the hearing and discovered that the NIMASA DG, Dakuku Peterside, was not personally present.
Though Peterside’s representative made spirited efforts to justify the absence of his boss, but the Committee Chairman and other members like Senators Muhammad Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central), Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), Betty Apiafi ( PDP Rivers West ) etc, dismissed his explanations as nonsense.
While Argungu in his explanations said the NIMASA DG couldn’t make it because of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conference he attended in London few days back, Senator Danjuma Goje who also attended the conference in his capacity , as Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, countered him by saying” I also attended the conference and I am here now”.
Goje punctured the explanation further by saying that even the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki attended the same conference and honoured the committee’s invitation.
“Your explanation that the NIMASA DG couldn’t make it to this investigative hearing because of IMO conference he attended in London few days back is not tenable because I was also at the conference and even Senator Gbemisola Saraki, the Minister of State, Transportation was there and both of us are here now.
“Chairman, the NIMASA DG should should look for another excuse for not honouring the committee’s invitation which to me is unacceptable”, he said.
Consequently, the Committee Chairman, George Sekibo told Argungu to inform Peterside to appear before the committee unfailingly Thursday , 5th December , 2019 failure of which a warrant of arrest will be issued against him by the Senate.