Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki says Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has vindicated him on the cancellation of a maritime security contract given to chairman of Ocean Marine Security Limited, OMSL, Hosa Okunbo.
Okunbo had in an open letter, accused Obaseki of influencing the cancellation of the contract.
In the letter, he alleged that the governor attacked his company, leading to the loss of the contract to provide security on the Nigerian waterways.
But the governor has repeatedly denied the claim.
Obaseki’s spokesman, Crusoe Osagie, in a statement on Saturday, said Amaechi provided reasons for the cancellation of the contract, when he appeared on an AIT programme.
Osagie quoted Amaechi to have said the transportation ministry cancelled the maritime security contract, which Okunbo’s company was undertaking, because the deal was laced with fraud.
According to the Governor’s aide, Amaechi said OMSL was grossly inefficient and did not have the federal government’s approval to execute the contract yet was charging very high rates.
The Minister was quoted to have said, “What security was he (Hokunbo) providing? He charges each vessel on the waters 2,500 dollars, then after that 1,500 everyday, he doesn’t pay back that money to the federal government.
“He makes 17 million 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.”
Amaechi reportedly challenged Okunbo to come forward with the approval letter he got from the federal government to provide maritime security on the nation’s waterways.
He said: “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.”
Reacting to Amaechi’s statement, Osagie said the clarification has shown that the governor has no hand in the cancellation of Okunbo’s maritime security contract.
the statement read partly: “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.”