Maritime security: FG approves $186m to combat piracy

The Federal Government has approved $186 million as part of efforts to combat piracy in Nigerian waters. This is even as the government has also budgeted N100m for the dredging of the River Niger.

The Federal Government has approved $186 million as part of efforts to combat piracy in Nigerian waters. This is even as the government has also budgeted N100m for the dredging of the River Niger.

According to him, “Mr. President has approved $186million Dollars to fight piracy in our waters. The funds will be used to buy three helicopters, three aircrafts, 12 vessels stationed in the water, 20 APC. In the next three months, all of this will be deployed to fight piracy in our waters.

“We promised change. Change is not talked about, it is felt. That is why we asked that the people should give us time.”

On the recently launched dredging of the River Niger, Amaechi explained that N100m had been budgeted for the dredging of the project against the N34bn paid by the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for the same project.

In his words, “When the River Niger was first approved for dredging by the previous administration, it was approved for N47billion and N34billion was paid to the contractor. Dancers were called in and there was a party.

“We are not dredging the River Niger with billions of Naira, we are dredging the River Niger with just N100m. When we flagged it off recently, did you see us dance? Was there a party? I just went to see the Governor and told him that the project will start today and will be finished in one month.

“The Governor said he will accompany me, and I said OK. So I asked the Governor to flag it off since its located in his State.

“People are wondering how on earth are we going to dredge the River Niger for N100m when the previous government awarded same contracts for N47billion? But we are going to dredge the River Niger using dredgers owned by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

“NIWA has dredgers, but the previous government preferred to give contractors money to dredge the river wit private dredgers while NIWA’s dredgers were lying idle somewhere in Port Harcourt.

“The NIWA MD told me the agency has dredgers, but its been hired out to somebody in Port Harcourt. So we had dredgers, but the previous administration hired it out to some persons in Port Harcourt, while paying a contractor billions of Naira to use privately owned dredgers at a very high coat.

“I told the NIWA MD that I will look for money to fuel their dredgers, and work has started. That is why we are dredging the River Niger with just N100m.”

In his own address, the host of the event and Managing Director, Vintage Press, Mr. Victor Ifijeh stated that the conference was put together to address the ills in the nations maritime sector.

“We all know the problems of the Nigerian seaports, thy have been well documented. Until this problems are adequately addressed, the need for more engagements like the one we are having today cannot be over emphasised.

“We hope this forum can help by instituting a peer-facilitated platform to hold the agencies accountable,” Ifijeh stated.

Source: The Nigerian Voice (local news)

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