The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Ports Authority and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation have denied involvement in the conception of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria, also called the Deep Blue Project.
The Deep Blue Project was awarded to Contract to HSL International Limited for the supply of certain security and surveillance equipment and systems at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos State.
On Wednesday, Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), the Chairman of the Committee on Navy, read letters from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Port Authority, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Corporate Affairs Commission distancing themselves from the project.
He read the letters from the agencies when the armed forces appeared before the committee
Deep Blue project
In December, the spokesperson of the House, Ben Kalu (APC, Abia), had moved a motion for the House to investigate the project.
Mr Kalu had in the motion said the National Assembly had neither authorised nor appropriated any monies for the Deep Blue contract. He also questioned the standard of the project implemented by the contractor.
According to Mr Kalu, HLSI was also to establish the Integrated National Coastal Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solutions, with command and control of infrastructure in the nation’s territorial waters.
In the motion, Mr Kalu said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency agreed to pay the sum of $19,530,000 to HLSI as ‘Management Training Consideration.’
He also decried the national security implication of handling such a project to a private company instead of the Nigerian Navy.
According to Mr Gagdi, the CBN denied having any information on the project.
The OAGF said NIMSA had financed the project from their revenue without recourse to the Accountant General.
“In the view of the above you may which to obtain the requested information from relevant agencies. We are not part of it. It’s the money generated by NIMASA that this project is being funded without the attorney general,” Mr Gagdi had read part of the letter.
Mr Gagdi also said the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) informed the lawmakers that the authority does not in any way involve in the contract of deep blue.
Navy, Navy, Airforce excluded from conception…….
Representatives of the Nigerian Forces disclosed that they were excluded from the conceptualization of the projects but brought in after much protest.
Representative of Navy, SD El-ladan, a rear admiral of the Nigerian Navy, said the Navy was not part of the conception but brought in after much resistance.
“The concept right from when the project was initiated, members of the armed forces were not part of it, however, I think based on resistance and complains, a steering committee was created comprising of defence minister, transport, DG NIMASA , Chief of defence staff, and the three service chiefs. Thereafter the steering committee also created a committee called project monitoring team of the deep blue project,” Mr Ladan said.
“Shortly after the inauguration we were given the project schedule-timeline on how the project will be executed and our task was to monitor and ensure that the project is delivered within the specified period. Along the line, we have been getting reports from the contractor, from NIMASA, until we arrived at the present stage where I said the services have issued so so number of platforms and so on. The contract to the best of my knowledge is still ongoing, it has not been completed.”
The representatives of the Army and Air Force also corroborated the Navy on involvement in the project.
Speaking on behalf of the Air Force, NN Ananaba, said the “Nigerian Air Force has with it two special mission aircraft cj3, 4 unmanned aerial systems for operations and also another unmanned two aerial systems for training, making a total of six systems.”
Speaking after the grilling of the military officials, Mr Gagdi said the committee will meet with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, next week on the project.
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