By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has taken delivery of additional mobile assets for enhanced maritime security under his deep blue project.
The agency announced that two unmanned aircraft systems, nine interceptor patrol boats and 10 armoured vehicles have been added to the existing assets earlier procured by the federal government and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Bashir Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA, while thanking President Buhari for his sustained support in the fight against sea piracy and other maritime crimes, said the additional equipment will improve on the gains recorded in securing the Gulf of Guinea and Nigerian maritime domain.
Mr Jamoh, who described the recently held Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum (GOG-MCF/SHADE) in Abuja as a success in rallying international support in the suppression of maritime insecurity, added that Nigeria’s commitment to regional maritime security will always be sustained.
He recommended the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act emplaced by Nigeria as a robust statute that supports maritime law enforcement which other countries are considering replicating.
The DG said “Nigeria is improving on her capacity to fight maritime crime by procuring state-of-the-art technology, upgrading human capacity for effective service delivery and deployment of the assets for round-the-clock patrol, interdiction and reconnaissance with the support of Nigerian Navy and other security agencies we signed MoU.”
“Indeed we are further encouraged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s support all the time to ensure adequate security of crew members, vessels and cargoes within and around our waters.
“These newly procured assets would assist us in building on the gains already recorded in the fight against piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, kidnapping, illegal fishing activities and others,” Mr Jamoh further said.
The main objective of the deep blue project is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. The project has three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security on land, sea, and air.
The land assets include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.
Before the recently procured platforms, the deep blue project had sea assets including two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.
The air assets comprised two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles among others.
Senate Threatens to Withhold 2023 Capital Budget of State House, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Senate has threatened to withhold the 2023 capital budget of 100 federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) until they answer the queries raised against them by the Auditor General for the Federation.
Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, issued this threat on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday while ruling on a point of order.
The threat followed a point of order raised by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Matthew Urhoghide, who informed his colleagues that some agencies refused to appear before the team despite invitations sent to them.
Some of the MDAs include the State House, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Transportation, Mines and Solid Mineral Development, Information, Communication, Petroleum, Defence, Police Affairs, and Sports.
Others are Works and Housing, Women Affairs, the State House, Presidential Fleet, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Independent National Electoral Commission, North East Development Commission, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and the Nigerian Air Force, among others.
The queries covered in the auditor general’s report are from 2015-2018.
Speaking, Mr Lawan upheld Mr Urhoghide’s point of order and insisted that the public officers who utilised funds appropriated to their MDAs must give account.
He said, “Your point of order is sustained fully and completely, totally sustained; you are right on the dot to bring to the plenary your grievances.
“Secondly, I once served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for eight years. My only problem is when you write agencies, and they refuse to honour the invite, you’d many times be forced to bring them through a warrant of arrest.
“Reading this list at plenary gives the agencies the opportunity to know now if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance.”
The Senate then gave the agencies a one-week deadline to communicate with the committee and set a date to appear before them or have their capital budgets withheld.
“I am taking the opportunity here to advise that in the next one week, if the name of any agency is here, that agency should reach the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate to sort out when the agency would appear before the committee.
“If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reason are given, we will slash the agencies’ budget.”
EFCC Auctions 435 Cars in Lagos [Photos]
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
About 435 cars will be auctioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos between Wednesday, December 7 and Thursday, December 8, 2022.
A statement issued by the commission said this is in line with the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004, Public Procurement Act 2007, and the Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act 2022.
The vehicles are among those forfeited by corrupt persons, and the courts have given the agency the authority to seize them.
The cars, which pictures were conspicuously displayed with allocated lot numbers for public inspection, were allocated to auctioneers based on assessed values and an open ballot system.
The display was to provide an opportunity for interested bidders to view and indicate interest in any car of their choice.
In the statement released today, the EFCC said Nigerians would be able to acquire the cars through auction at 40 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 14 Cameroon Road, Ikoyi Lagos and CVU Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The nine auctioneers who were allocated to the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC to dispose of the 435 cars at the designated Centre on 14 Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, are Rihanna Auction Limited; Kamyus Consult Limited; Areogun Resources Limited; BIS N JEG; Integrated Services Nigeria Ltd; Mau & Sons Ltd; Langar Aghaji & Co; Fagobe Company Ltd and Musa Kira and Co.
At the inspection of the items for sale on Tuesday in Lagos, the Secretary to the Commission and Chairman of EFCC Asset Disposal Committee (ADC), Mr George Ekpungu, said, “the exercise, which is the first of the planned auction of forfeited properties across EFCC Zonal Commands and EFCC headquarters, is being carried out in accordance with the (Establishment) Act, 2004, Public Procurement Act, 2007 and Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022.
“It is being conducted in conjunction with the Bureau of Public Procurement to ensure compliance with all extant laws.”
While welcoming the auctioneers to the centre, he expressed his gratitude to sister agencies, including the Nigerian Army, who were invited to provide adequate security and ensure orderliness.
Mr Ekpungu also appealed to the members of the public present at the auction to listen carefully to the auctioneers and comply with all stipulated guidelines.
ICPC Confirms Arrest of D’Banj Over N-Power Funds Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has confirmed the arrest and detention of Mr Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj, over an alleged diversion of funds for the N-Power programme.
On Wednesday, it was reported by Premium Times that the entertainer was in the custody of the agency over his link with the inclusion of ghost beneficiaries in the scheme designed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria.
In a statement issued today, ICPC said it began to investigate the musician after receiving “numerous petitions” from concerned persons, alleging D’Banj and some compromised government officials of embezzling “N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the federal government.”
“Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the government,” another part of the statement released this afternoon said.
According to the commission, it swung into action in line with its mandate of looking into matters of corruption in government initiatives.
“About 10 persons have been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the N-Power fraud and have been granted administrative bail after their detention.
“Several invitations to Mr Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo to appear before a team of investigators (over the alleged N-Power funds fraud) were ignored and not honoured,” it further said.
Recall that the N-Power scheme was established by Mr Buhari on June 8, 2016, to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment and help increase social development.
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