By Ngozi Ekhator
Amaechi challenged Okunbo to come forward with the approval letter he got from the federal government to provide maritime security on the nation’s waterways.
Asked by the programme presenter, Ijeoma Osamor, to comment on the battle between the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and Hosa Okunbo’s Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, Amaechi retorted, “What security was he (Hosa Okunbo) providing?”
The transport minister said: “He charges each vessel on the waters 2,500 US dollars, then after that 1,500 US dollars everyday, he doesn’t pay back that money to the federal govt. He makes 17 million US dollars from that activity, who approved it, nobody!
“So as minister for transport, I said no, we can provide that security, 195 million dollars was approved by the federal government to a company that is training Nigerians that will take over the waterways, and take care of the security, then Okunbo is now saying no no, I must do it, he can’t! I wonder why our personal interest will override national interest. I wonder what kind of country we belong to.”
He emphasized: “The federal government has awarded a contract of 195 million dollars to a company to take care of the waterways security and now Captain Hosa is saying he must be the one to do it.”
The transport minister explained: “If you said Captain Hosa was doing it, how come we are currently ranked number one in the world in terms of insecurity in the maritime sector. When we came, we were number three, but now we are number one in the world.
“Now the second aspect beyond ranking number one in the world in insecurity, is the fact that we are notorious as a country in the whole of Gulf of Guinea; 80 per cent of the crimes in the Gulf of Guinea is committed in Nigerian waters.”
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, has said that the recent television interview granted the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, in which he took responsibility for the cancellation of Captain Hosa Okunbo’s maritime security contract, validates Governor Godwin Obaseki’s letter that he had no hand in Okunbo’s misfortunes.
Osagie said: “We are glad that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, came on air to lay this issue to rest in the minds of some Nigerians.
“For us, Amaechi’s clarification reinforces what we have always believed. Of course we know the governor was right, when he said that he had no hand in the cancellation of Okunbo’s maritime security contract, even though Captain Hosa would have people believe otherwise. Amaechi’s claim brings to rest, the argument over who was responsible for the cancellation of Okunbo’s contract.”