A private firm, Messrs OMSL Limited, may have been fleecing the Federal government huge sums of money under the guise of maintaing security at the ports.
Going by the estimation of the Senate, N263billion has been lost to alleged fraudulent activities. It has mandated its committees on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance to investigate the activities of Messrs OMSL Limited and other security agencies at the ports.
It also mandated the committees to unravel the lingering infractions amongst the agencies and deeper issues that have not yet been brought to fore.
The lawmakers had considered a motion, titled: “Illegal Security Activities by Messrs OMSL Limited at the Safe Anchorage Area of Lagos Ports and the Need to Investigate their Excesses”, sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East).
Senator Sekibo, during plenary, moved a motion that OMSL Limited has been providing security services at the Lagos Ports Safe Anchorage Area on fees on vessels without regard to the Nigerian Ports Authority who by the Ports Act of 1954 has the responsibility of the area.
The lawmaker alleged 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 who by the Ports Act of 1954 has the responsibility of the area.
He said: “OMSL Limited charged every ship that anchored within the Safe Area $2,500 on first day of Anchorage and $1,500 on every subsequent day for the period any ship stayed at the Anchorage Area.
“It takes between 28 to 30 days for ships that anchor at the Safe Anchorage Area to exit, meaning that every ship that anchors at Safe Area pays as much as $46, 500 for making use of the Anchorage Area within the period. With estimated number of ships that stayed at the Safe Anchorage Area in a year to be 3, 665, a whooping sum of $733.04million or N263.89billion have been collected by OMSL Limited and its collaborators over the years.”
He submitted further that OMSL Limited has openly declared that the Nigerian Navy had a Memorandum of Understanding with it on the Illegal operations.